There are numerous opportunities for the Yamas to support your current wellness and nutritional aspirations. The Yamas create a wheel of ethics that includes kindness, honesty, refrain from stealing, moderation, and non-hoarding. Following these five principles will help ensure that your life is filled with healthy relationships, including the one with yourself, others, and the natural world around you.
The Yamas prepare you to see that how you treat the outer world reflects how you treat your inner world. It is through conscious application of the Yamas that you will learn to see that compassion is your birthright, trust begins with yourself, healthy boundaries make healthy relationships, and balance is not as bad as it sounds. They allow you to work with what gifts you have been given rather than what you perceive you are missing.
Although the Yamas are all interrelated and work together, if one stands out more than the others, consider spending some time deepening your relationship with that one principle. Applying the Yamas to your diet, yoga practice, and wellness lifestyle activities can be very rewarding and effective.
- Ahimsa - Non-violence, reducing harm in thoughts, actions, and speech
Application: Enjoying a vegetarian diet; having your food be raised organically and in a cruelty-free manner as well as locally produced; prayer; mindfulness
- Satya - Truth, honesty
Application: Asking the questions like: “Am I hungry or bored” or “Am I eating to distract myself” or “Is this good for me?”
- Asteya - Non-stealing
Application: Not taking the food from another’s plate; eating enough each day to avoid robbing the body of nutrients
- Brahmacharya- Appropriate use of one’s vital energy
Application: Moderation; understanding the impact of eating too much or too little food
- Aparigraha - Non-possessiveness
Application: Learning to say “no” at a buffet line; ceasing eating when you no longer have hunger