The five yamas listed by Patanjali in the Yoga sutras are very similar to the principles I undertake while training a slave. The Yamas are a form of moral guidelines in the Yogic tradition.  Below I break down the five yamas and explain how they play a role in my slave training and the expectations that I have of slaves.

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings
    • I encourage slaves to learn to differentiate between pain and harm. Pain is inevitable and I enjoy holding space for an individual to explore what comes up when sitting with pain. I expect slaves to not harm themselves; the play that we engage in should not be harmful. If it is harmful, I expect and encourage open and honest communication from my slaves. Play and self work can be painful and difficult, but cultivating self awareness will help to differentiate between pain and harm. Many individuals who identify as masochists tend to be people pleasers and may have a tendency to let people walk over them in other avenues of their life and think that they deserve this. Instead, I teach slaves to intentionally and thoughtfully give up control to a trusted individual. Controlling when and with whom you explore pain and power dynamics can become an empowering experience, ideally devoid of harm.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood
    • I expect openness from my slaves. I expect to pry into my slave’s brains, and get past that which my slave is projecting and see where their true desires lay and explore where they came from. To me Satya in BDSM also looks like being honest about your capacities both financially, emotionally, the ability to be able to stop a scene if it becomes too much and sharing honest and helpful feeedback after sessions.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing
    • Asteya in professional BDSM means not haggling with Dommes or taking their energy without offering compensation. Being a sexworker, a professional dominant or an emotional laborer can be emotionally exhausting. The exchange of money enable us the space to do this work and to support ourselves and in turn support our beloved subjects. Tribute is a gift that allows slaves to experience our dominance in a way that is sustainable and serves both of us. Reframing a tribute as an honor and a gift may help the exchange feel more balanced instead of entitled.
  4. Brahmacārya (ब्रह्मचर्य): This is defined as, ‘One who knows the way of God.’ It is commonly translated as ‘continence’ or ‘celibacy’. I define this as Orgasm Control, Chastity Training, Edging and Sexual Restraint.
    • While I love chastity training, it is not for everyone. For me Brahmacharya in my personal and Dasya Yoga practice means orgasm control. The offering of control of ones sexuality to their Mistress. Mistress gets to decide when and how a slave comes, and in a way that best serves the Mistress and in turn the slave. The ritualization of asking permission for an orgasm also lends itself to more ‘vanilla’ sex; enabling slaves to communicate with partners, letting them know that they are having an orgasm or not, thanking them and letting each other know if they are ready for the other to release. I believe that particularly slaves with penises should undergo rigorous orgasm control training. Especially with the idiotic western emphasis in sex on the male orgasm. I expect that a toy I am playing with should ALWAYS be ready for my pleasure or amusement and I expect my slaves to be able to be teased wildly to the edge and not lose control.
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness
    • While a slave may have love for his Mistress, it is important that he not try and possess his Mistress. His actions should be devoted to her happiness and her freedom. While a slaves emotional needs should be met, a slaves dedication and devotion to his Mistress should stray away from possession. Her pleasure should become his pleasure. To me, this looks like non-jealousy of relationships with other slaves, supporting a Mistress’ security, comfort and pleasure with out need for recognition. This also looks like expression of gratitude for the time and intimacy offered to you by your Mistress, and respect of the boundaries set up around revealing personal information and intimacy than you are being offered.