The following interpretations are credited to the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training manual, inspired by Swami Kripalu.
(this page is a work in progress)
I recommend reading "the Yamas and Niyamas" by Deborah Adele.
The Yamas: Character building restraints in our behaviors in thought, word, and deed.
1. Ahimsa: Non-violence, compassion, understanding, loving kindness, self-love.
* Observe thoughts, actions, words, towards self and others.
* Journal: what ways am I being violent to myself/others in my yoga practice and out in the world?
* Affirmation: I am valuable
2. Satya: Truth. Being honest, genuine, authentic, owning feelings, practicing conscious communication, * and having integrity. Truth as a relative point of view that expands and grows.
* After saying something that doesn't feel 100% accurate ask yourself: is that true?
* If you make a mistake and feel like you are at fault, apologize right away; set the record straight.
* Agree to disagree
* Affirmation: I live in truth. I speak the truth to myself and to others (When appropriate). When offering my truth in the form of feedback I am sensitive to the feelings of others. I speak in the spirit of love. I also take responsibility for my actions. I do not blame anyone for my experience. I honestly see my own part in every situation.
3: Asteya: Non-stealing, non-devaluing. Providing for one's self, not taking what is not yours. Not stealing another person's intellectual property, time in the spotlight, or taking away rights or freedoms.
* Take responsibility for providing for yourself in the world.
* Affirm your abundance.
* Acknowledge other's successes.
Affirmation: I live in gratitude for all I have. I take and use only what is rightfully mine. I respect the possessions, time and talents of others.
4. Bramicharya: Energy Management. Exploring how energy is affected by life choices in regards to food, speech, relationships, actions, thoughts, physical activity, sex, etc. Becoming more sensitive to your choices, practice moderation, and strengthen your container to be able to flow with expanded energy.
* Honor and explore extremes to learn about the place in the middle
* Write down parts of your life that are draining you.
* Notice how the vibrations of words affect you (media, gossip, people)
* What are you giving your attention to? Where attention goes energy flows?
Affirmation: I am moderate in my lifestyle. I use my energy in ways that create optimal balance. When my energy becomes scattered, I come home to my Source and to the primary relationship with myself. I have great respect for my energy.
5. Aparigraha: Non-attachment, non-possessiveness, non-hoarding. Taking only what is needed. Letting things to with ease when they are no longer enhancing vitality. This includes holding on to memories, hurts, anger, grudges...
* Inquire into how much food you take at meals.
* Write down who/what you are attached to that isn't serving you
* Honor that which is of high value to you and every once in a while give something you love away.
Affirmation: I release attachment to other people, substances, and unrealistic ideals that don't serve me. I honor myself as I cultivate conscious simplicity. I recognize the difference between a "want" and a "need".
The Niyamas: character building observances in thought, word and deed.
1. Saucha: Purity, cleanliness, organization, cleansing rituals, orderliness, clarity, precision, healthy diet. Getting out of your own way to achieve your goals.
* Clean water, pranayama, self-care
* Organization of personal space
Affirmation: I cultivate purity in my body by practicing yoga, pranayama, meditation, conscious eating and by choosing a diet that is wholesome and pure. My inner and surrounding environment is organized.
2. Santosha: Contentment, equanimity, tranquility, choosing to accept what is. Honoring life's ups and downs
* Gratitude journal
* Making space for dark emotions as well as light
Affirmation: I am content, I am grateful for what I have and for what I do not have. I learn from the joys and disappointments life brings me, I honor the good in myself and others. I enjoy my life.
3. Tapas: discipline, discipleship, dedication, patience, heat, and will. Placing self-limits to create expansion and development.
* Make a commitment (i.e. limit sweets to once a month)
* Cultivate a personal practice (start small 2/3 times a week, asana,
meditation, nature, etc.)
Affirmation: I cultivate discipline. I have a realistic, balanced schedule for my work, my sadhana and my personal needs. I am dedicated and also relaxed. I do not drain my energy by over effort and over work.
4. Swadhyaya: Self-study and self-inquiry of thoughts, words, relationships and actions. Taking in conscious media (books, poems, films) that spur inspiration and learning
* Track patterns in your life (when I get angry/stressed, I always eat cookies which leads to feeling blue)
* Take in study of yogic texts and other spiritual teachings
Affirmation: I practice conscious awareness on my yoga mat and throughout the day. I study scripture through reading and listening to inspirational teaching. I expand my self-knowledge and reflect upon my life with greater awareness.
5. Ishvari Pranidhanana: soften, open to the play of the universe. Know when to let go and surrender effort. recognize you are the universe embodied.
* Be present, connect to love, laugh, and taste all of life.
Affirmation: I repeat the mantra Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudeyaya: I pay homage to glorious intelligence of consciousness which resides inside and out
Asana: Physical postures: Our body is the vessel that holds our life force. We use asana to strengthen the vessel and keep it healthy. The discipline of physical asana combined with breath awareness also contributes to focusing the mind. We cultivate endurance and enjoy the sense of well being that comes from a healthy body.
Pranayama: Breath regulation, breath awareness. By itself or in combination with asana, pranayama brings noticeable changes to the body chemistry. It brings an increased capacity for breath in the lungs, calms the body and mind.
Pratyahara: Sense withdrawal. Learning to cultivate a sense of completeness from within.
Dharana: Concentration. Letting the mind become focused on one thing -- over and over again. Attention to the breath is a very basic technique for training the mind to stay focused.
Dhyana: Exercises that support meditation. With consistant practice, less effort is needed to keep the mind focused. The meditator and the object of meditation become one.
Samadhi: Recognition and absorption of the infinite nature through extended meditation. Awareness of our interconnectedness with everything else.