Ahimsa is one of the five yamas, which are the ethical, moral and social principals for yogis. Ahimsa is non-violence in all aspects of life, from the physical to the mental and emotional.
Elements of violence thread throughout our days. This often happens against ourselves. When our thoughts contain negative self talk that expresses disappointment, resentment, or guilt, when we feel shame, we are subtly creating violence against ourselves. What is it that you are engaging in that is causing violence to your well being? Negative thoughts? Wrong foods? Addictions? Negative body image? Gossip? Work stress? Over scheduled? Pushing others away? Practicing ahimsa means discerning where you are in need of peace rather than violence, then doing the work to remove which does not serve you. That's where the journey of self reflection and change comes up against the deep patterns of our habits. Little by little rerouting the paths that no longer brighten our lives. Digging a new pattern to brighter days of non-violence, silencing and letting go of that false loop that plays a soundtrack in our heads of negativity without even realizing it.
Starting small can be in our yoga practice. As we practice yoga let us move out of negative thoughts about the body. We can accept ourselves totally, no matter how flexible, how strong we may be in any given moment. Non-violence also means not pushing yourself over the edge, honoring and accepting your limitations in your body. During your next yoga practice ask the following questions to better achieve ahimsa: How are you treating yourself on the mat? Are your movements serving you? Are your thoughts and inner dialogue serving you? Building yourself up or breaking yourself down? Reflect. Are you balancing your energy needs? What poses do you need to lean into and which away from? Rather then pushing into gripping, release down into a child's pose. Instead of fear letting take over, lean into inner strength and move forward in a pose to a new level. Embracing ahimsa will improve your own well-being as well as those around you. Namaste. Little by Little.
Written by Brooke Halperin
Brooke teaches every Thursday at 6pm at Good Juju Lombard. Be sure to check out Brooke's classes. Book it at goodjujuyoga.com