The first stage or limb of yoga as defined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras and is a collection of five abstinences or principles governing the way to relate to other people. The five yamas are nonviolence, nonlying, nonstealing, moderation in sensual activities, and nonpossessiveness.
the five moral codes of conduct as preliminaries in Yoga and Tantra
The first eight regulations observed from the beginning of the ashtanga-yoga system.
the yogic `restraints` - from the Sanskrit verb root `yam` to hold or check. Sage Patanjali presents five ethical observances for yogis – ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (chastity), aparigraha (greedlessness). There are other important Yamas listed in traditional texts, such as patience, compassion, forgiveness, giving, steadfastness and moderation in diet. The late Yogi and scholar Dr. Rammurti Mishra M.D. described Yama is follows : the will to investigate mental nature by following specific resolutions to lead life in the light of Truth.
Five abstinences that purify the body and mind. Principles of governing the way we relate to other people.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali defined five yamas or ways to relate to others — moral conduct. They are nonviolence; truth and honesty; nonstealing; moderation; and nonpossessiveness.
A yama (Sanskrit), literally a "restraint", is a rule or code of conduct for living virtuously. The yamas comprise the "shall-nots" in our dealings with the external world.