Yama and Niyama are first two limbs of Patanjali`s Ashtanga Yoga. The eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi.
Yama consists of five self-restraints for living peacefully in society and the environment.
1. Ahimsa ( non-violence )
Just as one does not harm self; one should not harm the rest of creation too.
2. Satya ( truth )
The mind should think thoughts of truth, the tongue should speak words of truth and the whole life should be based upon truth.
3. Asteya ( non-stealing )
Asteya or non-stealing includes not only taking what belongs to another without permission, but also using something for a different purpose to that intended, or beyond the time permitted by its owner.
4. Brahmacharya ( celibacy )
Patanjali lays stress on continence of the body, speech and mind. The moral aspects of Brahmacharya can be practiced in one`s daily living whether one is a bachelor or married and living the life of a householder.
5. Aparigraha ( non-hoarding )
One should not hoard or collect thing that one does not require or need to possess.
Niyama has five rules for one`s inner development.
1. Shaucha ( purity )
Purity of body is essential for well-being; but more important than the physical cleansing of the body is the cleansing of the mind of its disturbing emotions like hatred, passion, anger, lust, greed, delusion and pride.
2. Santosha ( contentment )
It is essential to develop the ability to withstand daily problems without being deeply affected, to be contented no matter what circumstances beset one.
3. Tapas ( austerity )
Tapas mean a burning effort to achieve a definite goal in life. The wholehearted effort of character building may be regarded as a practice of tapas.
4. Swadhyaya ( self-study )
Swadhyaya is the education of self. Practicing swadhyaya can make one able to read and write his own book of life.
5. Ishwara pranidhana (surrender to divine )
Ishwara pranidhana means to surrender one`s actions to God, the supreme consciousness, existence or whatever name one has for that; which drives one through life.
Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda