Yamas? Are those the little funny Jewish hats?

Bridge pose-Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Ricardo das NevesNo, no, no! Those are yarmulkas. The yamas are the moral precepts or rules of conduct with other people, with society at large.

Oh, I get it. You won’t spill the beans on how to recover from a bad hangover because first you want me to sign some sort of contract.

And because once I told you, you wouldn’t stick around to hear about Ahimsa.

Gesundheit!

That wasn’t a sneeze. Ahimsa is the choice of non-violence and a benevolent outlook toward all beings.

Ah. It’s like “Thou shalt not kill”, but on steroids.

Well put. Which brings us to Satya -- truthfulness, integrity.

How does it exactly bring us there?

And Asteya, non-stealing.

Warrior 1 Pose-Virabhadrasana I - Ricardo das NevesOh, so you’re just going to rattle off all the rest of the yarmulkas.

Yamas. Then there’s Brahmacharya, conservation of sexual energy.

All right, I’m outta here. Nice knowin’ you–

No, no. Some interpret it as celibacy, but most of the sages who passed yoga down the eons weren’t celibate. They were married and followed the path of the householder: normal family bonds plus spirituality. Think of Brahmacharya as moderation. Or using your sexual drive with love and integrity.

Can’t wait to use those words next time I’m making passionate love.

Hey, we’re not talking about “no passion,” we’re talking about “no orgies.”

Warrior 3 Pose-Virabhadrasana III - Ricardo das NevesBecause…?

Because they unbalance you. And the yamas are about having sufficient balance in your life that your dramas don’t pull you this way and that way, rendering you completely useless in any particular path of spirituality or transformation. Just like the last one, Aparigraha: absence of greed.

I can’t even have a little greed?

It’s freedom from the impulse to hoard. The ability to differentiate between satisfaction and excess -- between abundance and waste: bigger isn’t always better. That’s it. If you liked the yamas, you won’t want to miss the niyamas!