What are the Niyamas?
Together we have already explored the Yamas which were largely based on the external environment and what not to do, the Niyamas take us internal to our inner observances and what to do/practice.
Saucha - meaning cleanliness and purity
Not only cleanliness of self like going for a bath or a shower this also relates to the decluttering of your space. From your workspace, home space to the spaces you choose to spend time in such as the coffee shops or restaurants you choose to visit. Purity relates to the body and what we consume. Within the Niyamas, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and even processed sugars are considered t have adverse effects on the body and are considered impure substances.
Santosha - meaning contentment
Understanding the bad and appreciating the good. Not a "life will be better when" or "I'll be happy when" mentality but a life already is awesome despite whatever shit you've gone through. The concept that you may not have everything you want yet but you are exactly where you need to be.
Tapas - meaning discipline
Tapas relates to our inner fire cultivating energy and courage to follow our passion. You know the feeling when we are super pumped to do something you make the time - no matter what - to do what you need to do to get that goal - for that feeling thank Tapas. The trick is to know your goal and purpose and sustain that fire, then discipline (the action you must take) becomes easy.
Svadhyaya - meaning self-study
The practice of understanding the self. We are all on a journey of self-discovery and some of us are more invested than others. This is a process of reflection and observation to gain a solid understanding of who we are. We are all different, we all have our quirks and it is in embracing them with love that we will propel ourselves into the higher versions of ourselves that we know we can be. By extension, this is what we strive to do when guiding others to facilitate another person's journey to understand, heal, and thrive.
Isvara Pranidhana - meaning surrender
Traditionally a surrender to a higher power - whatever you call your higher power; source, the universe, mother earth, god - we do not discriminate in this house. The letting go of expectations and the true feeling of being guided. It can also mean the courage to admit you need support or help.
Just like that a mini-guide to life and much like the Yamas before this there are no hard and fast rules for you. If you are reading this you are most likely an adult who can make their own damn decisions. Take time to think about each Niyama, do they fit into your life? Are you already doing this but you didn't even realise it? In essence, how do you want to live?