|Yamas/ Niyamas Exercise
Source of inspiration: Felicity Green
Yamas things to
avoid; principles of behavior in relation to others
consideration, kindness, love, freedom from fear/jealousy/anger
1. a-d. In a single column, list all of the words you associate with
each of the following words: Violence, Love, Consideration, Kindness.
2. a-d. Next to each association, list its opposite.
communication, freedom from falsehood
1. Where in your speech do you exaggerate? Include a specific
2. What/whom do you most want to protect? Do you "bend the
truth" to do this? Do you do it by thought, word, action?
3. In what situations do you try to project an image? How do you do
refraining from behavior such as: wanting to possess or enjoy what
another has, using something for a purpose not intended, keeping
something too long, borrowing without permission, breach of trust,
1. Are you rich physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? What
do you lack physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?
2. What is the difference between covetousness and competition? How is
the ego involved?
chastity, continence, right use of energy, "sobriety",
appropriate sexual boundaries for your situation, religious study,
1. What are your sensual enjoyments physically, mentally,
2. To which enjoyments are you attached? Do you crave them if you dont
3. What is the difference between will and desire? What does
"self-will run rampant" mean?
4. What are your deepest desires for yourself physically, mentally,
1. What is essential for you to have physically, mentally,
2. Do you need all you want?
3. What do you have in excess in your life?
4. Do you think there is such a thing as spiritual greed?
Questions for self-Examination:
1. What are the physiological effects of violence, falsehood, theft,
sexual license, greed?
2. What are the karmic effects of these behaviors/attitudes?
3. What are the physiological effects of cleanliness, contentment,
consistent effort, sincere reflection, attentiveness to devotion?
4. What are the karmic effects?
Niyamas things to
cultivate; principles of behavior in relation to yourself or higher
purity, refinement, quality
1. What practices do you use to cleanse your body? How much time do
you spend on them daily?
2. What practices do you use to cleanse yourself spiritually? How much
time do you spend on them?
3. Do you consider your environment (home, office) a reflection of your
inner state? Is there congruence between them? How much time do you
spend on your environment?
4. Is there a relationship between your yoga or meditation practice and
the condition of your body? Your spirit? Your environment?
1. Name three things that bring you a feeling of contentment
2. What in your life are your discontented with?
3. Do you think the practice of asana can help you develop the
quality of contentment?
4. What happens when you are with someone who dwells on negative things?
Tapas burning effort;
1. a-d: In one column, list all the words you associate with each of
the following: Courage, Wisdom, Integrity, Straightforwardness
2. a-d: Next to each association, list its opposite
3. Where in your life do you work most consistently to reduce excess or
4. Is there one main thing that motivates you to continue when you feel
like giving up?
analysis, education of the self, study of divine literature;
"fearless and searching moral inventory"
1. What are the tools you have to study/educate yourself physically,
mentally, emotionally, spiritually?
2. What is your purpose in doing this?
3. Compare yourself to one year ago. What is different about you
physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?
4. Are there books you refer to regularly for inspiration or spiritual
devotion, self-surrender, surrender to higher power/God
1. What does "devotion" mean?
2. Do you think one needs to belong to a religion to practice devotion?
3. What are your personal devotional practices?
4. What helps you maintain awareness of the "bigger picture"?