Iyengar: Non violence, truth, abstention from stealing, continence, and absence of greed for possessions beyond ones needs are the five pillars of yama.
Iyengar’s commentary is short. He says “These rules and restraints are clearly laid down for us to live in society whilst remaining a yoga practitioner.”
Bryant: The yamas are nonviolence, truthfulness, refrainment from stealing, celibacy, and renunciation of unnecessary possessions.
Bryant says that ahminsa is the most important yama and the root of all other yamas. Although it is impossible to avoid harming bacteria when we bathe, for example, the commentators are very clear about this: being a vegetarian is required for aspiring yogis.
I’m struggling with this one greatly. I have no desire to eat meat but I am severely anemic right now. Everyone around me is telling me I must eat meat.
Bryant has a thoughtful commentary on truth and celibacy and I encourage the reader to get his book.
Taimni: Vows of self-restrain comprise abstention from violence, falsehood, theft, incontinence, and acquisitiveness.
Taimni says that there are two types of yogis: lower and higher. He says that the lower yogi can practice yoga and obtain all kinds of powers (if you have read Autobiography of a Yogi you’ll understand these powers – levitation, disappearing acts, etc.). The higher yogi wants to reach enlightenment. His commentary on each of the yamas is also worth reading.
Carrera: Yama consists of nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, continence, and nongreed.
Carrera says that the yamas strengthen and purify the mind.
Carrera is the most lenient in his commentary when it comes to Bramacharya. Other commentators say that to be a yogi, you must be celibate. Carrera says that everything, including sex, must be done in moderation.