The Purpose of Yama and Niyama

May 6, 2011 | Wisdom, Yoga practices, Yoga teaching  | 6 comments

- the purpose of yama and niyama

Yama Poster

- the purpose of yama and niyama

Niyama Poster

When I first learned yoga and for many years, I knew nothing of the yama and niyama. I didn’t know that they are actually stepping stones in the practice of yoga.
With the popularity of hatha yoga these days, it’s common for students to do asanas hoping to make their bodies strong. However, hatha yoga is just one of the eight limbs of the tree, which includes yama and niyama.
The point I made in yesterday’s post is that progress is futile if one’s inner life isn’t evolving. If we’re growing emotionally, mentally, spiritually, our outer life changes too.
Each posture we do gives an opportunity for building awareness on all levels. This awareness stays with the practitioner, though, only as far as it is internalised. When we learn to take yoga “off the mat” into our everyday lives, yoga understanding is never-ending.
It’s said that as yoga practitioners, we are always students. We’re probably always going to be in the process of coming to terms with negative qualities, like:  resentment, selfishness, anger, and, jealousy. When we fall prey to these qualities – thoughts, words, or deeds that elicit that prick of conscience – we lose the energy we gained from our yoga practice.
Practising the yamas and niyama helps curb the expression of greed, desire, and attachment, and allows energy gained from the practice of the asanas, pranayama, and meditation, to shape us. The postures, breathing, and meditation then give energy to one’s inner being.


  1. Hey Eve how are you, have been reading your blog forever and just love it, was wondering if it’s possible to purchase the posters you had in the Yama and Niyama words, I love them, I live on the Sunshine Coast can I order them online maybe? Anyway love your work, would love to hear from you re this or just to say hi
    Regards Lyndal

    • I’m away from my computer at the moment, Lyndal, so I’ll get back to you soon about the posters. In the meantime, thank you for your kind encouragement about Yoga Suits Her. Writing about yoga and life is a passion for me! Namaste, Eve

  2. Where can I order the yama and niyama posters – they are nice and simple and clear.

    • Hi Sue,
      I’m having some of the posters printed and will have them available soon. Namaste, Eve

  3. i would also like to purchase the yama and niyama posters, they are beautifully done. i just today signed a lease on a small studio space and the pretty wall needs the rules 🙂
    and i too moved from teaching-practicing in a big city (los angeles) to the pastoral setting of the mountains of east tennessee. and love it 🙂 good luck to you beauty and please let me know if and when i can buy some of your lovely posters!

    • Hi Patty,
      Congratulations on making a break from the big city to a gentler lifestyle. And for your new studio. The posters would look great in your space, I’m sure, and are inspiring. You can order through PayPal on the “Shop” page on this site, and then I’ll send to posters to you. Kind regards, Eve


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