Niyamas: How You Show Up MattersSep 01, 2022
How you show up for yourself does make a difference and here are five practices taught through the Niyamas.
The niyamas are the second limb of yoga. They're the actions we can take to become more conscious and aware, to support our journey of self-improvement. But how do these actions translate into actionable steps? This article will explore what each niyama means, as well as how you can apply it to your own life so that you can make progress towards your goals.
1. Saucha: Purity or cleanliness.
- The first step in the path of yoga, saucha is the act of cleansing one's body, mind, and spirit. It coincides with self-awareness, healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and positive thinking to create a space for you to thrive.
- Of all the niyamas (external observances), saucha is considered by many as the most important one because it affects how we approach life from moment to moment—how we think about ourselves daily and how we interact with others.
- Consider your mind and how media affects our mood and emotions.
- 1) Practice stillness and silence - Mindfulness Practice
- 2) Create a daily habitual schedule – review it, make shifts as needed and reflect with humility and a non-judgmental attitude.
2. Santosha: Contentment.
- Contentment is a state of mind, a state of being. It is the ability to find happiness in whatever situation you are in at any given moment.
- This is not something that can be achieved overnight or even within a year; it takes time and practice. But if you truly want contentment in your life, these three steps can help:
- 1) Be satisfied with what you have: This could mean anything from appreciating the beauty around you to appreciating yourself and all your flaws.
- 2) Be satisfied with what you have accomplished: If this means something small like cleaning up one room or the coordination of a large event. Remember the small consistent tasks are cumulative and will make a big impact. Take a moment or more to reflect on your accomplishments because initially those tasks or goals that you set for yourself may have been daunting but look at you now!
- 3) You should never look down on yourself for what others think are failures because everyone has their own journey which makes them unique and special just as much as yours does.
3. Tapas: Self-discipline.
- Tapas is the practice of self-restraint. It is the practice of sacrifice and control. Tapas has the power to transform your life through non-attachment, purification, and lightening up. Discipline may not be the word you want to hear so here are a few ways to shift the mindset.
- 1) Challenge yourself and re-define your efforts as building confidence, mental & physical strength, and courage.
- 2) Simplify and remove objects/things that are no longer serving you to create physical and emotional space.
- 3) Honor your time for the commitments and life’s priorities that truly matter to you. Download our free Enlivenhere Habitual Tracker
4. Svadhyaya: Self-study and self-reflection.
- Forgiveness of self and others, including the mistakes you've made in your past that led you to where you are today (and any current mistakes).
- Developing a healthy outlook on life, your role in it, and how to live with purpose by aligning yourself with what matters most to you such as family, friends, and personal goals like running a marathon or creating art — whatever it is!
- 1) Do your research and search out for teachers and mentors; if not in person explore books that will further your journey.
- 2) Listen to the Mindful Journaling Practice to get you started!
5. Ishvara pranidhana: Contemplation of or surrender to a higher power.
- The practice of surrendering to a higher power, whether it be God or Spirit or the universe, is an important step in the process of moving from egocentricity and self-involvement to a place of greater insight and inspiration.
- Surrendering to something outside yourself allows you to become more open and receptive—you can allow things into your life that you might otherwise miss because they don’t directly impact you.
- The act to surrender will alleviate stress as we no longer feel responsible for everything going on around us but instead have faith that whatever happens will work out for good, even if it doesn’t always seem like it at first glance.
How we show up is how we live life
We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to it. We cannot control other people, but we can control how we respond to them. The key is practice and persistence—we must put in the work every day until it becomes second nature.
It takes time and patience to develop the “your right” habits, but it is well worth the effort. I believe that the way we show up in this world is how we live life.
It's not about what you say or do, but how you feel and think. And when we're connected with our inner selves, our relationships are more fulfilling, our work is more meaningful and productive, and our lives are enlivened.
In this article, we covered five different aspects of self-care—saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (self-study), and Ishvara pranidhana (surrendering to a higher power)—
Make a commitment to yourself and follow through on your intentions today so you can be the best version of yourself possible.
Would you like to talk with Amy and create your plan? Schedule an online session today and explore our Mindful Nourishment Program!
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