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nginx

karate chop

Ahimsa Pratisthayam Tat Samnidhau Vaira Tyagah.= In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease.

So, this afternoon I flipped to the part of the yoga sutras where Patanjali starts to talk about the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances).

Since these are step 1 and step 2 of the complete yoga system, I figured it was a nice place to really dig in.

He starts of by teaching us about non-violence or non-harming (ahimsa).

Most people take this sutra to mean violence like the kind of stuff we see in action movies. You know folks shooting up public places and being outwardly mean to others.

Or not killing, which leads a lot of yogis to embrace vegetarianism.

But ahimsa also refers to the subtle things that we do that hurt ourselves or others.

You know things like, talking bad about the chick down the street because she still nurses her 4 year old. Or constantly telling yourself that you “suck” for whatever reason.

These things, even though they are not blatant doesn’t make them any less harmful.

But why does it matter anyway?

Remember the practice of yoga is all about realizing our connection.  That you are connected with the deeper more subtle parts of yourself. You are connected with the other people in your life. And you are connected with Life or the environment you live in.

 

We are all connected with everything.  So everything you do to one (including yourself) then you also do to everything else.

Think about it non-harming this way.

If you constantly berate yourself when you mess up, how do you respond to others when they make a mistake?

If you constantly have negative things to say about other people, how then do you talk about yourself and the other people you love?

Ahimsa is about choosing and then re-choosing kindness and compassion. Compassion for ourselves, for others and the world we live in.

How do you practice ahimsa?