Questions and Answers on the Yamas

Q: In the Ramayana and Mahabharata, it’s clear that there was killing. The Gita itself takes place on a battlefield. How is this explained and justified in terms of ahimsa (non-violence)? Swami Satchidananda: In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna talks about non‑violence to...

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Online Study Group

Join us as we explore the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali through Sri Swami Satchidananda’s translation and commentary! Tune in to Facebook every Tuesday beginning September 13, 2022 at 10 am (Eastern) as we study each sutra slowly and carefully, broadening our...

Can the Yoga Sutras Bestow Power?

Observing how Yoga has changed the world, I cannot help but wonder how the world has changed Yoga. As the plethora of Yoga studios and communities formed, they focused mainly on serving the physical body. The calling was great; strengthen and balance the body—that is...

A Nondual Approach to the Niyamas

Retaining what we’ve learned about the yamas, we now train our attention on the niyamas which occur in sutra 2.32. When prefixed to a noun “ni” can be a negation. It also means “down, back, in, into, within.” Thus, niyama is traditionally rendered “observances”...

Light on the Yamas & Niyamas: Aparigraha, More than Non-Stealing

We’ve come to the final yama (in the five yamas of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali) and the last occurrence of Patanjali’s “via negativa” approach. Aparigraha, commonly referred to as “non-grasping,” is composed of graha (seizing) with two prefixes attached: a (not) and...

Light on the Yamas and Niyamas—Brahmacharya, More than Celibacy

There’s no doubt that Patanjali intended brahmacarya (brahmacharya) to mean “celibacy.” He wrote for and to young men who were monks in training. Let’s break the word down just a bit. Brahma means God, specifically the God of creation. And it also is a shortened form...