Yoga Sutras of Pantajali translated by Yogi Kalinath - Chapter 2, Verse 31
Pada 2, Sutra 31
ete jaati-desha-kaala-samayaanavacchinnaah saarva-bhaumaa mahaavratam
These restraints (Yamas), the Great Vow are Universal and not limited by one’s birth, place, time, and circumstance.
The Yamas are Universal and apply to both the Yogi and the materialist. While to the average person (religious or non-religious) and the materialist morals have a tendency to be either black or white or even become dogma to the fundamentalist, the Yogi is amoral and is concerned more with ethic and the application of the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law. The spirit of the law should never be discarded. The Yamas are the restraints that go towards refining our psyche to overcome destructive egoistical desires and develop equanimity towards self, others and the world.
In large due to commercialization, New Age political correctness and the appropriating and profiteering nature of the modern world (mainly driven by the West), Yoga has mostly become Asana (posture) and Pranayama (breathing) and sometimes with a little meditation (really Dharana and relaxation) added. Yoga is codified into eight limbs by the great Sage Patanjali (and the practice of Yoga had been in existence for considerable time before the great Sage, perhaps hundreds if not thousands of years) for a reason. These limbs compose the great pragmatic and philosophical body of Yoga. Having one or more limb missing will render this great body of Spiritual Truth and Emancipation lame. And the foundation of this wonderful and wondrous body are the Yamas and Niyamas.