Yamas – the ethical underpinning of yoga

We have mostly focused to date on our asanas, or physical postures, as is mostly the case in contemporary yoga in the West. However, asanas are only one limb of the eight limbed yogic path, the third one at that.

The yamas, or ethical underpinning, are the first limb of yoga. Interacting with other sentient beings – and ourselves – while observing these ethics leads to a kinder and more compassionate way of being in the world.

Click on the audio below to learn a little more about each yama; a new audio recording will be added discussing each of the five yamas during the Winter 2019 quarter.

Apologies about the rustling – recorded during a walk! 🙂

Ahimsa, non-harming

Satya, truthfulness

Asteya, non-stealing

Brahmacharya, moderation

Aparigraha, non-coveting

Author: Sylvia Vitazkova, PhD, CYT

Dr. Sylvia K. Vitazkova is a certified yoga teacher, life coach, horsewoman, and conservation biologist. Sylvia’s formal study of yoga began while she was an undergraduate at Cornell University, and intensified when she began to practice Ashtanga Yoga in 1997 while attending Columbia University for doctoral studies in biology. Sylvia soon realized that she wanted to help others experience the consciousness and transformation that her own practice fostered in her and began to teach in 1998, subsequently studying in Mysore, India, in 2002. Sylvia continues to evolve her practice by learning from senior teachers, the most influential of whom has been Barbara Benagh. Her teaching focus is on correct alignment, the joy of being fully present in one’s body, and the psychological and spiritual context within which the physical practice is embedded. Parallel to being a yoga teacher, Sylvia had a full-time career as a professor of Conservation Biology, having taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including a course she created on nature and spirituality, which brought her two areas of expertise together. She has conducted and published the results of her research on wildlife in the tropics, and has been involved in the creation of a number of conservation studies programs. Sylvia’s experience in mentoring students naturally led her to life coaching, in which she became certified through George Mason University in 2014. A lifelong connection with horses has been woven throughout these experiences, from her first pony while a child in Africa, to teaching at riding camp in the U.S., then Claremont Riding Academy in NYC, to the current and ongoing exploration of how yoga can be a tool for better and more connected riding. Sylvia now leads InBodied Living LLC, a wellbeing organization and consultancy, with her partner, James Houston.