शौच संतोष तपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि नियमाः ॥३२॥
śauca saṁtoṣa tapaḥ svādhyāy-eśvarapraṇidhānāni niyamāḥ
The following five limbs of yoga deal with concepts applying to our conduct and attitudes towards ourselves. The five concepts are summarised under the header of niyama (नियम). The observance of niyama can be seen as a prerequisite for a healthy and sustainable personal growth. Niyama is traditionally translated as observances or obligations towards oneself.
The first two - shaucha (purity), and santosha (contentment) - describe the fundamental attitude required to achieve and maintain health and happiness.
The following three - tapas (discipline), svādhyāya (introspection), and ishvarapranidhana (surrender) - are at the heart of Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga is one of the two classic approaches to yoga as outlined in Patanjali's Yoga Sûtra. Some historians even suggest that detail about the other eight limbs (Ashtanga Yoga) was introduced at a later stage into the scripture in the form of a quotation. Tapas, svādhyāya, and ishvarapranidhana are the primary means to achieve purification of body, mind, and ego (soul) and advance your practise. They are detailed in sutra 2.1 and 2.43-45
|Niyama are guidelines towards personal growth|