16. What are the Yamas and Niyamas?

Yoga Studies in Five Minutes - Theodora Wildcroft

Graham Burns [+-]
SOAS, University of London
Dr Graham Burns is an independent yoga teacher, teacher trainer, and scholar. As well as a law degree from Durham University, he holds an MA in Religions and a PhD in ancient Indian philosophy from SOAS University of London. He is a former Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS, where he lectured on the MA in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation, as well as teaching undergraduate Hinduism and philosophy. He is a member of the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies.


The Sanskrit word yama is perhaps most accurately translated as “restraint” and, in general, indicates patterns of behaviour towards others; niyama, perhaps best translated as “observance”, signifies more personal behavioural requirements. Compliance with these principles is thought to help the yogin develop the single pointed awareness, and internal power, needed to travel the yogic path.

Notify A Colleague


Burns, Graham. 16. What are the Yamas and Niyamas?. Yoga Studies in Five Minutes. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jan 2025. ISBN 9781800506008. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=46358. Date accessed: 15 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.46358. Jan 2025

Dublin Core Metadata