Yamas: The First Limb of Yoga

The Reflection of our True Nature


The 5 Yamas are often translated as “restraints” of certain actions.  What if we look at the Yamas as an opportunity to practice and cultivate qualities through positive action instead of avoiding behaviors?  Let us think about the Yamas as the description of our natural state, our essence, unaffected by external stressors.  By practicing the Yamas, maybe we can find more strength in our actions and more freedom to be our True Selves. 

  • Ahimsa – classically translated as “non-violence.”  Ahimsa put into action: act sensitive and embrace love, peace, and reverence for all. The work of sensitivity, love, and peace begin within. Never miss an opportunity to be kind.
  • Satya – “truthfulness.” Put Satya into action: consider the possibility that your thoughts, words, and actions have the power to manifest your reality.  Look at where you become defensive in thoughts or beliefs – in order to experience a deeper level of wisdom and truth, let go of control and listen inwardly to the truth.  Step into life courageously and from an authentic place of honesty. 
  • Asteya – translated as “non-stealing.” Put Asteya into action: add openness to the areas in your life that you feel most closed off such as relationships, emotions and truth.
  • Brahmacharya–“energy moderation.” Put into action: focused energy, focused attention. Your energy, how you spend it and your focused attention are what will transform your life and move intention to action.
  • Aparigraha–“non-greed.” Put into action: generosity. Rather than not being greedy, think of ways you can be generous!  With your time, your attention, listening, smiles, etc.  Think more about abundance – give and you will also receive!