Sutras 2.30 to 2.31 - The Yamas

2.30 Self-restraint in actions includes abstention from violence, from falsehoods, from stealing, from sexual engagements, and from acceptance of gifts.

2.31 These five willing abstentions are not limited by rank, place, time or circumstance and constitute the Great Vow.

Instead of having Ten Commandments, the Yoga Sutras have a list of Do's and Dont's.  The Yamas are considered the Don'ts of Yoga.  They are very basic and will be discussed at length in other posts, but for now, just think of them as a guide of best practices.

If you want to reach higher levels of conciseness, you need self restraint.   There is no way around it.  Cultivating self restraint in meditation is a good place to start.  When you sit down and close your eyes to meditate, it is natural for the mind to wander.  Over time, self restraint of thought streams works it's way into our every day action.

Yoga sages of the past have said that a student needs to develop restraint before they can move further up the yogic ladder.  I have seen poeple take this to mean that you cannot meditate unless you master all the Yamas and Niyamas perfectly.  That is not true.  If you can start the process of meditation, you can work on self restraint at the same time.  Some of us may be naturally non-violent in regular life, but "talk shit behind peoples back."  In this case, self restraint in regards to truth is needed.  Of course there are exceptions, but I hope you get the point.

Sutra 2.31 is strait forward.  It does not matter who, where or when you are.  Practicing self restraint at all times is an ongoing process.  It flows through our deeds and actions.  Self restraint is a tall order for sure, but remember that it's a never ending process.