The Yamas: Ahimsa by Jacquelyn
Are you practicing non-violence?
Although we in the West often think of yoga as being simply a series of physical postures, it is really so much more. Raja (royal) yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali actually has eight limbs. The first two of these are the yamas and the niyamas.
Over the coming months we’ll be taking each of the yamas and niyamas in turn and exploring how we can apply them on and off the mat.
The yamas are a set of five moral injunctions and the niyamas are five fixed observances.
The yamas and niyamas can be applied both on and off the mat. For example, we might reflect on them during our physical yoga practice and then set an intention to apply them to life off the mat.
This week, we turn to the first of the yamas: ahimsa.
Ahimsa is often translated as non-violence but it might be more positive to express it as the ‘wholeness’ or ‘completeness’ of love. That is, there is no room left for anything other than total love and compassion.
We can express ahimsa though our thoughts, words and deeds.
For example, we can do our best to eliminate negative self-talk from our thoughts and speech. We can use patience and kindness towards our bodies both on and off the mat by being mindful about what we ask them to do and how we care for them. We can make decisions about how we spend our money and which companies we support using ahimsa as our guide.
The key is for each of us to find our own way to express ahimsa. Once we start to live with ahimsa at the forefront of our minds we start to make choices based on love and compassion. This approach can move mountains as Gandhi proved.
Join me in class this week to practice every movement and every breath with ahimsa in mind.
Next week, we’ll look at the first of the niyamas, saucha.
Tuesday, Thursday 9.15 am Flow Yoga
Tuesday 6.15 pm Gentle Yoga
Wednesday 6.15 pm Flow Yoga
Sunday 9.15 am Gentle Yoga