Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Hri Mean?

Hri is a Sanskrit word that means “shame,” “remorse,” “modesty,” “shyness,” “self-respect” and “conscientiousness.” In yoga philosophy, it is one of the niyamas (duties or observances) when the list is expanded to 10, rather than the more common five listed in Patanjali's eight-limbed path of yoga in the Yoga Sutras.

In Buddhist text "Abhidharma-samuccaya," hri is described as the practice of avoiding non-virtuous actions and what is objectionable. Hri is also a letter that represents Avalokitesvara, the buddha of compassion.


Yogapedia Explains Hri

In the "Hatha Yoga Pradipika," hri is listed as the seventh of 10 niyamas. The Shandilya and Varuha Upanishads also contain an expanded list of niyamas that include hri. In this context, hri is described as humility, modesty and remorse.

By observing hri — that is, feeling remorse, being humble and giving credit to God and to others — the yogi is able to make amends, resolve problems and move forward on a spiritual path. Hri, and the niyamas in general, are associated with and help the yogi connect with his/her own inner divine qualities.

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