10 Simple Ways To Advance Our Spiritual Lives – Yamas & Niyamas

Deep within the sacred Yoga texts, known as the Vedas , are sacred teachings which can be accessed by seekers of the truth, looking for guidance on living a life of deeper purpose and understanding. The fundamental principles discussed in the lecture by Vrindavan dasi are considered to be moral and ethical codes, that help to cultivate discipline and personal strength which are required to navigate our way through the chaotic age we live in.

The Astanga yoga and Bhakti yoga systems both have the same goal, but only Bhakti yoga is the recommended process in the current age we live . The first 2 limbs of the Astanga ( 8 limbs ) yoga system lay a platform of codes to live by daily, as steps towards spiritual advancement. These are also important parts of the Bhakti system .

These are called Yamas and Niyamas. They are not unlike the 10 commandments, are considered to be like the Do’s and Don’ts for our conduct personally and within society.

The Yamas consist of:.

  1. Non violence. This is understood to be not placing and living entity in any form of distress.
  2. Not stealing. Being able to control urges and impulses through wisdom inner strength.
  3. Yogi’s understand that there is a need to restrain the senses, as they are the sitting place of different degrees of lust.
  4. Freedom from greed. Greed is due to a lack of inner fulfilment and contentment, which cause us to hanker for more un- necessary things.
  5. Honesty is a true pillar of our spiritual code, as it helps to cultivate trust and respect in relationships.


The Niyamas consist of:

  1. Not just of the physical body but also of the heart and mind. In the current age it is recommended we engage our consciousness in Hari Nama – hearing and repeating the names of the Supreme for purification.
  2. One becomes satisfied by developing an intimate relationship with supreme soul, this is the true purpose of yoga.
  3. Austerity : In our pursuit of Spiritual advancement there will be different hardships and challenges we will experience. We must learn to tolerate them, and continue our sadhana (practice ) to experience a higher taste.
  4. Checking my spiritual temperature is important to see whether l am being more or less attracted to material activities. Reading of Vedic yoga texts is also recommended here.
  5. Worship of the Supreme soul.  This is the means and the goal of all yoga systems . In different ages different processes are recommended depending on  ‘time and circumstance’ . Hari Nama is again recommended.

Yoga is defined by great Sages as : Releasing the control the mind has over us, by systematically and enactively examining and transcending each of the various gross and subtle levels of the false identity and the mind field – until the jewel of the true self comes shining through.