(REVISITED THIS POST from LAST YEAR. I need to read this book again. )
I’ve spent the month of August studying the yama of Ahimsa. The yamas are the guiding principles of yoga. Yoga is designed to bring your awareness to your body and your thoughts. The first of these principles or yamas is Ahimsa which translates to nonviolence.
The first thing I found with Ahimsa is that everyone is at different levels. What Ahimsa is to one person is totally different for another person...and that’s OK. Some may still eat meat, some might still kill certain animals and insects, but each person is striving to be non-violent in their own way.
“Love lies at the core of nonviolence and begins with our love of self” (31).
What I love about Ahimsa is what I learned about myself. It’s part of human nature to put down ourselves. I discovered I’m violent to myself and went years without recognizing it. Negative self-talk brought and sometimes brings me down. I then would pass the negative energies to all those I came in contact.
When we are violent to ourselves it is hard to share love and peace to others. But, if we are loving to ourselves and at peace...our love and peace energy will pass on to others. The positive loving and peaceful thoughts will transform our environment and those around us.
“Nonviolence asks us to trust the other’s journey and love and support others to find their highest image of themselves, not our highest image of them” (33).
I’ve learned that nonviolence doesn’t just mean physical violence, but focuses inward to your thoughts and motivations.
Throughout the month, at times I would be angry at a particular circumstance and sometimes a particular person. Someone would cut me off in traffic or I’d receive an unexpected bill in the mail. I found myself thinking violently or wishing ill for person. As I reflected on what I was learning, I realized these negative and violent thoughts are not Ahimsa.
Adele, Deborah. The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice. Duluth, MN: On-Word Bound, 2009. Print.
is an English Teacher, Registered Yoga Teacher, writer, journalist, former Scholastic Inc. Blogger, aspiring entrepreneur, and founder of The Writers App.