Yoga for Beauty and Health

Niyama (Individual Discipline)

Niyama - deals with self discipline or individual discipline that does not affect the society at large but purely a matter of individual affairs.

The following natural principles constitute the Niyama code of ethics.
1. Shaucha - Cleanliness - internal and external purification of the body and mind.
2. Santosha - Contentment - living in a state of satisfaction and happiness with the things available to him.
3. Tapas - Austerity - the self victory sensual pleasures by practicing purity in thought, speech and action.
4. Svadhyaya - Self study - Self inquiry like the sage Sri Ramana told 'Who am I?' and accomplish knowledge.
5. Ishvara Pranidhana - Surrender to God. As Chakraparti Shri. Rajagopalachari said, ' Knowledge, when it ripens become wisdom and the wisdom that doesn't turn into Bhakti is a waste.

You may wonder, where does the beauty of youth come from? And this guy is going away from the title 'Staying Young'.



Shaucha - Cleanliness

 The first Niyama is shaucha, cleanliness. Shaucha has both an inner and an outer aspect. Outer cleanliness simply means keeping ourselves clean. Inner cleanliness has as much to do with the healthy, free functioning of our bodily organs as with the clarity of our mind. Practicing asanas or pranayama are essential means for attending to this inner sauca.

Santosha - Happiness in contentment

Another Niyama is santosha, modesty and the feeling of being content with what we have. Literally the word means happiness. There are occasions we work hard to get something. We get very disappointed when we don't get it. Some people will get into extreme depression as a result. Some people may even contemplate suicide in extreme cases. We do these things because we do not have the discipline of being content with what we have. We should accept that there is a purpose for everything - yoga calls it karma. The real meaning of santosha is 'to accept what happens' . God has a plan. Christians prays, 'Thy will be done.' Accept what God has given us with humility and happiness. Be happy with what we have rather than being unhappy about what we don't have.

A commentary on the Yoga Sutra says: "Contentment counts for more than all sixteen heavens together." Instead of complaining about things that go wrong, we can accept what has happen ed and learn from them. Samtosa encompasses our mental activities such as study, our physical efforts, and even how we earn our living. It is about ourselves-what we have and
how we feel about what God has given us. It is about our whole outlook on life. Do we look at a cup as half empty or as half full?

Tapas - Austerity

Tapas refers to the activity of keeping the body fit or to confront and handle the inner urges without outer show. Literally it means to heat the body and, by so doing, to cleanse it. Behind the notion of tapas lies the idea that we can get rid of the rubbish in our body. Asanas and pranayama are tools we can use to keep ourselves healthy. Another form of tapas is paying attention to what we eat. Eating when we are not hungry is the opposite of tapas. Attention to body posture, attention to eating habits, attention to breathing
patterns-these are all tapas that help to prevent the buildup of rubbish in the body, including excess weight and shortness of breath. Tapas makes the whole body fit and well functioning. It gives us the discipline of developing healthy eating habits and prevents us from getting high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

Svadhyaya - Self Enquiry

The fourth Niyama is Svadhyaya. Sva means "self' or "belonging to me." Adhyaya means"inquiry" or "examination". The word Svadhyaya literally means, "to get close to something." It means to get close to yourself, that is, to study yourself. It could also mean meditation or contemplation. It teaches us to be centered and non-reactive to the dualities, to burn out unwanted and destructive tendencies.

All learning, all reflection, all contact that helps you to learn more about yourself is svadhyaya. In the context of the Niyama the term is often translated as "the study of ancient texts." Yes, yoga does instruct us to read the ancient texts because we cannot always just sit down and contemplate things. We need reference points. The world is changing fast around us. We can read the Bible or a book on spiritual healing or one that is of personal significance or the Yoga Sutra. According to the Yoga Sutra, as we progress
in our self-examination, we will gradually find a link with the divine laws and with the prophets who revealed them. And since mantras are often recited for this purpose, we sometimes find svadhyaya translated as "the repetition of mantras."

Isvara pranidhana - Moderation -SSurrender

Isvarapranidhana means "to lay all your actions at the feet of God." It is the
contemplation on God (Isvara) in order to become attuned to god and god's will. We should accept the fact that we will not always get everything we want. Sometimes we get disappointed. Things do go wrong. This is the reason why samtosa (modesty) is so important. We have done our share. We have done the best we could under the circumstances. We can leave the rest to a higher power.