These are the Yamas and Niyamas. Often referenced as the precepts of yoga, they are good rules for life. Not the only rules, but good rules for good neighbors, good health, and peace of mind.
We first find them in Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras, the oldest known cliff notes of all things Yoga. The Sutras serve as a guide book for people working to find themselves in the big picture. Ultimately, they lead to the conclusion that all things – trees, mountains, stars, dogs, cats, people – are one thing.
It’s really hard to get your mind around that idea, hence all the meditation and poses we find in yoga. The meditation leads to the realization, the deep knowing, of this union. The poses prepare the body for sitting motionless during the hours and hours of meditation this realization requires.
Even if you have no interest in accepting this idea of universal unity, keeping these rules in mind and doing the poses can enrich your life.