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Yamas, and its complement, niyamas, represent a series of "right living" or ethical rules within Hinduism and Yoga. These are a form of moral imperatives, commandments, rules or goals. The five Yamas of Patañjali's classical yoga system are committments that affect the yogi's relations with others. The five Niyamas of Patañjali's classical yoga system are personal obligations to live well.

Ten yamas are codified as "the restraints" in numerous scriptures including the Śāṇḍilya and Vārāha Upanishads, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svātmārāma,[1] and the Tirumantiram of Tirumular. Patañjali lists only five yamas in his Yoga Sūtras.[2][3]

Five Yamas[edit]

The five yamas listed by Patañjali in Yogasūtra 2.30 are:[4]

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Non-violence
  2. Satya (सत्य): truth
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): not-stealing
  4. Brahmacarya (ब्रह्मचर्य): continence
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): poverty

Ten Yamas[edit]

The ten yamas listed by Svātmārāma are:[1][5][6]

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): not stealing
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): continence
  5. Kṣamā (क्षमा): patience
  6. Dhṛti (धृति): fortitude
  7. Dayā (दया): compassion
  8. Ārjava (आर्जव): rectitude
  9. Mitāhāra (मितहार): measured diet
  10. Śauca (शौच): cleanness


  1. ^ a b Svātmārāma; Pancham Sinh (1997). The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (5 ed.). Forgotten Books. p. 14. ISBN 9781605066370. अथ यम-नियमाः अहिंसा सत्यमस्तेयं बरह्यछर्यम कश्हमा धृतिः दयार्जवं मिताहारः शौछम छैव यमा दश १७ 
  2. ^ Ramaswami, Sŕivatsa (2001). Yoga for the three stages of life. Inner Traditions / Bear & Company. p. 229. ISBN 9780892818204. 
  3. ^ Devanand, G. K. Teaching of Yoga. APH Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 9788131301722. Yama is a "moral restraint" or rule for living virtuously. Ten yamas are codified in numerous scriptures, including the Hatha Yoga Pradeepika compiled by Yogi Swatmarama, while Patanjali lists five yamas and five niyamas (disciplines) in the Yoga Sutra. 
  4. ^ Āgāśe, K. S. (1904). Pātañjalayogasūtrāṇi. Puṇe: Ānandāśrama. p. 102. 
  5. ^ Lorenzen, David (1972). The Kāpālikas and Kālāmukhas. University of California Press. pp. 186–190. ISBN 978-0520018426. 
  6. ^ Subramuniya (2003). Merging with Śiva: Hinduism's contemporary metaphysics. Himalayan Academy Publications. p. 155. ISBN 9780945497998. Retrieved 6 April 2009.