Is Asana “Mere Acrobatics” Without Yama & Niyama?

Together the Yama and Niyama form the base of yoga ethics and a practice that is grounded in the roots of yoga.

To practice yoga authentically, the yama and niyama are essential. But, they have been neglected in yoga in the United States, to the point that when I was looking for resources on the eight limbs of yoga, some sources counted the yama and niyama as the entire eight limbs! There are five yama and five niyama, for a total of ten. They are the first two limbs, the base, or the roots, but not the entire eight limbs of yoga.

  • Yama
    • Ahimsa
    • Satya
    • Asteya
    • Brahmacharya
    • Aparigraha
  • Niyama
    • Saucha
    • Santosha
    • Tapas
    • Svadhyaya
    • Ishvarapranidhana

In “Light on Yoga”, BKS Iyengar wrote “Practise of asanas without the backing of yama and niyama is mere acrobatics”. Do you agree? Let us know at