Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ahismsa: Nonharming

The yamas and niyamas are the first 2 branches of Patanjalis 8 limbed path (ashtanga yoga). They are like the do's and donts of yoga that promote inner and outer peace and bliss. John Friend said, "they create harmony within you, and in relationship to your environment and to others. Where there is harmony, consciousness can expand, they lead us to a natural revelation of insight into the nature of being, and joy naturally arises." They also provide a mirror in which to observer our practice, giving us infinite opportunities to transform our Self. I find when I am in alignment with the yamas and niyamas I experience more peace, truth, abundance, harmony, contentment, self-acceptance, and love.

Ahimsa is the fist yama, This word is usually translated as non-violence or non-harming. If we break down the Sanskrit we learn that "himsa" can be translated as "lion" and "a"  is a negating prefix. So "ahimsa" can be translated as "not like a lion". I love this. It reminds me to come from a place of calmness and the heart instead of the impulse of anger and causing harm.

Violence happens through our words and thoughts as well and can be just as harmful as physical violence. To practice ahimsa is to be so aware with our interactions with ourselves, our thoughts and our interactions with others. To incorporate ahimsa into your life, look at all the attitudes you have that might be keeping you from feeling at peace. Write down your five most negative thoughts, these thoughts themselves are a form of violence.  Just noticing the negativity will help you stop feeding the thoughts and will lead you toward peace.

Ahimsa tells us not to hurt other people, the planet, animals.. The law of karma tells us that when we hurt another that that suffering in which we inflict will inevitably will come back and hurt us. When I think of ahisma I am so reminded of the hurt I can inflict on myself. How often do we physically, emotionally and spirautally beat up on ourselves. I know I can be ruder to myself then I would someone I hate. This yama is a reminder to love thy neighbor and to love thy self.

We will be talking about ahimsa in my Saturday classes this week and will continue to over through the yamas and then the niyamas over the next 8 weeks. Ahmisa fits so beautifully with anusara yoga because we do a lot of harm to our bodies with our habitual posture and we can also do a lot of violence to our self with our yoga practice not practicing alignment. We can practice self love with a good strong alignment based practice.

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