Yoga isn’t just about what happens on the mat. We can also integrate it into our life experiences off the mat in order to live a deeper and more fulfilling life. Ahimsa is a great place to start.
Yesterday (13 November 2023) was World Kindness Day so we thought it was the perfect opportunity to introduce Ahimsa on our social media channels.
Ahimsa is a Sanskrit term that directly translates to ‘non-violence’, but we can understand it to mean non-harm, compassion, kindness and love towards all beings, including ourselves.
This principle is the first of Patanjali’s Yamas, which are the first limb of the eight limbs of yoga, and many people use it as the driving force behind their decisions and behaviours.
The eight limbs of yoga
If you’re not aware of the eight limbs of yoga, they are outlined by Patanjali in the classical text called ‘The Yoga Sutras’. The Yoga Sutras is a collection of sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga. It acts as a practical textbook to guide your spiritual journey of remembering who you really are.
The eight limbs of yoga that are mentioned offer guidance on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. The Yamas are limb number one, and these are moral disciplines. They guide us on how we can best act toward ourselves and the world around us. Ahimsa is the first of the Yamas.
Act with Ahimsa in mind
When we act with Ahimsa in mind, it means that we don’t physically harm others, ourselves or nature; we don’t think negative thoughts about others or ourselves; and we make sure that what we do and how we do it is in harmony.
Practising yoga is a great place to start adhering to Ahimsa as a way of being kind to ourselves. If we practise self-kindness, self-love and self-respect, it can then filter out to others and we can spread the love wherever we go.
So, let’s all spread some kindness, today and every day.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali highlights that there are five Yamas in total. These are:
Ahimsa – ‘non-violence’
Satya – ‘truthfulness’
Asteya – ‘non-stealing’
Brahmacharya – ‘pure conduct’ or ‘right use of energy’
Aparigraha – ‘non-greed’ or ‘non-attachment’
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