Yay! That is my favorite Yama: Ahimsa, or non violence.
I knew this principle from Gandhi’s work and always tought it was very logical and true. Non violence rocks, and a peaceful approach is always welcomed.
I’m a very calm person, since I was a child, and tought that to practice ahimsa was easy, but it’s not. Because it not only means not to be aggressive or violent, it means to expand more and more ones own capacity to love.
It also means to love myself unconditionally and to never feed negative, aggressive toughts or emotions towards myself or others. However, it’s a practice. That’s also something I love about yoga, you’re always practicing.
I see Ahimsa as a difficult pose:
you keep practicing until you feel comfortable in it.
I changed my diet because of ahimsa, and it turned out that I’m actually being kind to myself, by eating more vegetables and less meat. My health is better, I have more energy and mental clarity, and I’m pooping better (this is essencial).
Among the benefits of Ahimsa practice, are a guilty-free consciounsness, a considerable increase on the self-steem and confidence in yourself, the others and life.
Ahimsa was perhaps the first Yama I’ve practiced, because a few days after reading an article about it I became vegetarian, and two months after that, vegan. Today I have a plant-based diet, but I’m not vegan.
Self-forgiveness and self-compassion are also ahimsa practice. For that, there are many meditations that help us to love ourselves more in a deep, honest way, and many asanas are ideals to help us in the practice of self-acceptation, like Pachmottanasana and many foward bends (poses in which you bend the body to the front, hugging it).
All the asanas and other exercises that open up the chest and the heart chakra help us at the ahimsa practice.
Picture: Yoga Moves
What else you can do to practice Ahimsa (My suggestions):
1. Keep a journal or blog in which you can share your thoughts, impressions and insights throughout your practice. Expressing yourself helps the self-knowledge (Svadhyaya) and to share your ideas with other people help us to open the heart to give and receive (thoughts, emotions, insights).
2. Meditate about the heart chakra.
3. Sing mantras. I suggest the mantras “Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” (Om, Peace, Peace, Peace) and the Gayatri Mantra.
4. If becoming vegetarian and/or vegan is not in your plans at the moment, what about to choose a healthy diet, loving and honoring your own body?
5. Dedicate your daily practice to the happinness and peace of all beings.
6. Forgive yourself and be compassive with yourself. Be compassive and lovingful when addressing your own mistakes.
7. Do things you like.
8. Dedicate some time only to yourself and do what makes you happy.
And always worth to remind it: defend yourself. Practicing Ahimsa and not harming others doesn’t mean at all to accept violence from others. Protect and defend yourself when necessary. You’ll know how.
Did you like it? Next time I’ll be talking about Satya (truthfulness), another gorgeous Yama.
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