According to the 8 limbs of Yoga ( Ashtanga ), the first two limbs are Yam and Niyam which are social code of conduct as well personal code of conduct. The whole journey of yogic path is mastery over the mind, studying it, understanding it, knowing it and realizing the truth of its nature.
Yoga Citta Vritti Nirodha is probably one of the most popular text in Yoga Sutra of Patanjali , which means the goal of yoga is to restraint the modifications of mind. When the mind is modified, attachment, aversion, ignorance, ego and fear of death all arises. The yogic journey eventually clears all these paths to find the true nature of our mind.
Yogis in the past while taking this path realized that in order to know the mind intimately, there are many obstacles on the road, such as our distorted way of relating with our society and the environment as well as with ourselves caused by ignorance.
There is no yogic path without doing the foundational work of practicing Yam and Niyam. Yoga journey starts when we are finally fed up playing a game whose rules we are oblivious of. Yoga journey for me started with a heart and a mind of renunciation, when I got tired of swinging between the extremes of the pendulum, when I got tired of blaming others for my unhappiness, and eventually when I got tired of blaming and shaming myself.
From my own experience, I can say this spiritual journey is extremely lonely, but most rewarding. Constantly I am faced with my own mind and its projection, and no one else being responsible for that delusion except myself, but not knowing how to wake up and see it without the modification, exaggeration, or suppression. Few things that are not talked anywhere in the traditional Indian yogic text but are very much emphasized in Buddhist text helped make the journey lot less painful. It was Buddhist teachings on compassion, loving-kindness, joyfulness and equanimity which made looking at my own mind more intriguing, and enjoyable.
Once a practitioner becomes familiar and adept at these conducts, naturally the mind is less disturbed and there is harmony within the mind and with the community so accessing subtler experience such as breathe and prana becomes easier, and getting into meditative state more natural and effortless.
There are 10 code of conducts.
Yama/ Social restraints
- Ahimsa / Non-Violence
- Satya /Truthfulness
- Asteya / Non-Stealing
- Bramacharya / Moderation
- Aparigrapha/ Non-covetousness/Non Attachment
Niyama/ Self – restraints
- Saucha / Purity of body, thoughts and feelings
- Santosha /Contentment
- Tapas/ Discipline/Austerity
- Swadhyaya/ Self- Study of yogic philosophy and contemplation.
- Ishwarapranidhanam/ Devotion/ letting go of Ego
Hope this gives little more clarity into your yogic journey.