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Bridging the Gap: The Yamas and Niyamas in Education, Nursing, and Yoga

In the diverse arenas of education, healthcare, and wellness, a noticeable dissonance arises when educators, program coordinators, yoga teachers, and supervisors deviate from the principles they impart. This blog post explores the repercussions of such dissonance and advocates for the incorporation of both the Yamas and Niyamas – the ethical and moral guidelines of Yoga philosophy – to forge a connection between teaching and living.

Dissonance in Nursing

Nursing, anchored in the pillars of compassion and care, experiences a stark contrast when leaders fail to embody the virtues they teach. Nurses are trained to prioritize patient well-being, yet when educators and supervisors neglect self-care or overlook the principles of empathy and understanding, the dissonance becomes palpable. The Niyamas, complementing the Yamas, offer valuable insights. Saucha (cleanliness) and Santosha (contentment) encourage healthcare professionals to maintain a clean and nurturing environment, promoting both physical and mental well-being.

Dissonance in Continuing Education

Educators and program coordinators in continuing education programs play a vital role in shaping the professional growth of individuals. However, when these figures fall short of embodying the values they teach, a dissonance arises that can undermine the educational process. Integrating the Niyama of Svadhyaya (self-study) can transform this landscape, inspiring educators to engage in continuous self-reflection and professional development. By doing so, they cultivate an authentic connection with their teachings, fostering an environment of intellectual honesty and genuine curiosity.

Dissonance in Yoga

Yoga, a practice rooted in spiritual and ethical principles, serves as a powerful tool for self-discovery and holistic well-being. When yoga teachers fail to live by the Yamas and Niyamas, the transformative potential of the practice diminishes. The Niyama of Tapas (discipline) encourages yoga instructors to lead by example, demonstrating dedication to their practice and inspiring students to commit to their own journey of self-improvement. Additionally, the practice of Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to the divine) invites a humility that transcends the yoga mat, fostering a sense of interconnectedness in the broader community.

The Integration of Yamas and Niyamas

To bridge the gap between teaching and living, it is imperative to integrate both the Yamas and Niyamas into every facet of life, including work, personal, and community spheres. These principles provide a comprehensive guide for ethical and moral conduct, promoting a harmonious existence and facilitating personal and professional growth.

The 5 Yamas

1. Ahimsa, the Yama of non-violence, encourages educators, healthcare professionals, and yoga instructors to cultivate compassion not only towards others but also towards themselves. By prioritizing self-care and fostering a culture of well-being, these leaders can serve as authentic role models, inspiring others to do the same.

2. Satya, the commitment to truthfulness, is essential in education and healthcare settings, where honesty and transparency are paramount. Creating an environment where open communication is valued helps build trust and integrity, laying the foundation for a healthier and more productive community.

3. Asteya, the Yama of non-stealing, urges individuals to respect others' time, ideas, and resources. In educational and professional settings, this translates to acknowledging and appreciating the contributions of others, fostering collaboration and a sense of shared purpose.

4.Brahmacharya, the practice of moderation, encourages a balanced and mindful approach to work, relationships, and personal well-being. By avoiding excess and cultivating moderation, educators, healthcare professionals, and yoga instructors can model a sustainable and fulfilling professional lifestyle.

5. Aparigraha, "non-attachment" or "non-grasping," aparigraha encourages individuals to cultivate a mindset of detachment from material possessions, desires, and outcomes. This principle advocates for living a simple and unburdened life, free from excessive accumulation or possessiveness. Aparigraha invites individuals to let go of the constant craving for more and find fulfillment in the present moment, fostering a balanced and harmonious way of living.

The 5 Niyamas

1. Saucha, emphasizes purity and cleanliness, not only in the external environment but also in one's thoughts and actions. Saucha encourages individuals to maintain a clean, clutter-free physical space, promoting a sense of well-being and harmony. Additionally, it extends to mental and emotional cleanliness, urging practitioners to cultivate positive thoughts, intentions, and attitudes.

2. Santosha, encourages contentment, reminding individuals to appreciate and find joy in the present moment. This principle can reshape the culture of education, nursing, and yoga studios by emphasizing gratitude and fulfillment over perpetual striving.

3. Tapas, the Niyama of discipline, calls for dedication and commitment to one's professional practice. By embodying this principle, educators inspire continuous learning and growth, creating a transformative atmosphere within the continuing education programs.

4. Svadhyaya, self-study, invites people to engage in continuous reflection and professional development, fostering an environment of intellectual honesty and genuine curiosity.

5. Ishvara Pranidhana, surrendering to the divine, invites individuals to acknowledge a higher purpose beyond personal desires. This principle encourages humility and a sense of interconnectedness, fostering a community-driven approach to education, healthcare, and professional development.


In conclusion, the dissonance observed when educators, program coordinators, yoga teachers, and supervisors fail to live by the tenets they teach has far-reaching implications in the fields of continuing education, nursing, and yoga. By incorporating both the Yamas and Niyamas into all aspects of life, these professionals can bridge the gap between their teachings and actions, creating a more authentic and harmonious existence. As leaders in their respective fields, the responsibility to embody these principles extends beyond professional settings, shaping a culture that prioritizes well-being, authenticity, and ethical conduct in the realm of continuous professional development.

If you aim to move through 2024 with greater intention and purpose, consider incorporating each Yama and Niyama into your daily life. Take your time, don't rush this process and remember, like many aspects of personal growth, this is a cyclical journey—we must stumble to move forward.

Lisa Ostler


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