"I remember meeting Krishnamacharya (Guruji’s guru) when I was 12. I was a bit too young to form an impression. I remember having to wait out side to see him – like going to the Vatican to meet the Pope! Well it wasn’t fancy like that. It was a very old house. He was a very simple man. They had a very different lifestyle to now. Always doing japa and chanting mantras. Guruji was the same – he was always chanting mantras or the Upanishads, even when teaching, even when helping me in back bending"! Sharath. Mysore Conference report 16.2.14 from New memories blog
And come to think of it I remember Manju working the room on the TT at Kristina Karitinou's shala in Rethymno Crete, working the room adjusting here assisting there, chanting softly to himself all the while.
Below is Krishnamacharya's presentation of Yama Niyama but first here's wikipedia, presenting the traditional ten yama and ten niyama as well as the five of each found in Patanjali's yoga sutras.
Yoga Makaranda (1934)
"Yoga consists of eight angas which are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.
2.1 Yama and Niyama
1. To never harm anybody through mind, speech or action is ahimsa.
2. To always speak the truth with good intentions and through that be of use
to all living beings is satya.
3. To not usurp other people’s wealth through mind, speech or action is called
4. To not waste your viryam (potency ) by any means is called brahmacharyam.
5. To not change the state of your mind irrespective of whether you get the expected benefits of your actions or not is kshama (equanimity).
6. Whatever hurdles arise to your happiness or welfare, to continue to under- take with mental steadfastness and courage whatever work that has to be done is dhrthi.
7. Be it enemy, friend, stranger (an alien or somebody you are unconnected to or indifferent to) or relative, to behave towards all with the same good intentions without differentiation is daya.
8. To keep the state of mind honest (on the straight path) is arjavam.
9. To use half the stomach for food and to keep the other half in equal parts
for water and for air flow (vayu sancharam) is mitahara.
10. To maintain cleanliness internally and externally is sauca.
To not hoard money is called asanchayam and this is also a yama. To perform good deeds without fear is a yama.
from Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda
1. Cold and hot, joy and sorrow, adoration and aversion — to maintain a steady state of mind when encountering these and to follow the dharma of your caste is tapas.
2. The sorrows and pleasure that result from any occurrences due to variations of time and place — to accept these with a peaceful, contented mind is santosha.
3. To have definite belief that for all the fourteen worlds, there is one para- matma who protects these worlds and to be sure that without him, this diverse universe could not have come into existence, and to make up your mind to find and know (realize) this paramatma is asthikya.
4. To give away your earnings (earned honestly) to good causes without any reason and without expecting any returns is daana.
5. To worship one’s chosen deity in the proper manner according to the vedas is isvara puja.
6. For the purpose of establishing sanatana dharma, to study the vedas, the vedanta, smrti, the puranas and ithihasas, to do vedic study and recitation of these, to understand the functioning of various dharmas, and to listen to the discourses of great sages is siddhanta vakya sravana.
7. If you have strayed with one of the three — your body, possessions or spirit — out of ignorance, to inform the elders about this without hiding it, to feel remorse and promise never to repeat it, and to be humble in one’s mind is hri (modesty).
8. Following one’s path as specified by the sastras and while doing this to visualize with one-pointed mind the divine auspicious form of one’s chosen deity and to perform dhyana on this deity is mathi.
9. To properly chant the great mantras learned under the guidance of one’s guru with correct intonation, metre and rhythm and with understanding of their meaning is japa.
10. Nitya naimitika kaamya are the three types of srouta smarta karmas (pre- scribed or recorded vedic rites and rituals). Leaving aside the kaamya karma (action or rite performed with a self-interested motive or with a view towards desired results), to perform the nitya naimitika karmas (nitya karma is a constant or continuous rite or action, naimitika is a regularly recurring or periodic rite or action) at the proper time in order to please the devatas, and after reciting all the mantras to put the havis (rice) in the fire as described in the sastras is homam.
from Krishnamacharya Yoga Makaranda
It might be a regular mantra, EG. OM HREEM NAMAH SHIVAYA, repeated on every inhalation and every exhalation or perhaps, and my favourite, loving kindness mantras, May I/he/she/they/all be happy, May I/he/she/they/all be well, May I/he/she/they/all be safe, may I/he/she/they/all be peaceful.
We can repeat one of the loving kindness mantras on each inhalation and exhalation in an asana and it's vinyasa.
Another option I like is the Tibetan Lamrim, it's possible to turn the stages of lamrim meditation into mantras. We repeat one mantra on each breath of an asana and allow the the reflections to seep through the practice.
Yama Nyama can be approached in a similar way, repeating them mentally on each inhalation and exhalation of an asana and it's vinyasa.
Stick with one of the yamas or niyamas for the whole practice ( a good way to learn them all first time around).
Mentally chant all the yamas for one practice, the niyama the following days practice, alternate them.
Mentally chant the Loving Kindness mantras through the Sury's and standing sequence, then the yamas through whichever series or sequence you're practicing that day then the niyamas through finishing.
We just need to chant the name of the particular yama or niyama through the practice, there's no need to repeat the 'meaning' although I like to take a few minutes before practice reflecting on the on it, kind of setting it up if you like. Krishnamacharya's presentation can act as a starting point as you allow them to find their own relevance to you personally. You're not trying to memorise the meaning here and then recall that meaning through the practice, it's more like a koan perhaps, allow it to... percolate.
In our practice we just repeat the mantra, we can reflect on them in our practice if we wish of course or we can just let such reflection pass across our minds and choose to sit with them in our meditation practice.
I turned them all into a little pdf booklet and have uploaded it to googledocs, they look like this..
You could of course make up your own using your own preferred presentation, Aranya is worth a look and is my favourite presentation of the yoga Sutras
Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali: Containing His Yoga Aphorisms with Vyasa's Commentary in Sanskrit and a Translation with Annotations Including Many Suggestions for the Practice of Yoga Paperback
by Swami Hariharananda Aranya
Or perhaps you might prefer something along the lines of this treatment by Donna Farhi
(Excerpted from Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness)