Ahimsa: Non-Violence

Monday, November 14, 2016

Photo Credit: http://falconmjc07.deviantart.com/art/Peace-59403514

Ahimsa: Non-Violence

The first limb in the eight limbs of yoga begins with the practice of ahimsa, or non-violence.

Ahimsa is the Golden Rule, the first lesson we’re taught as toddlers: treat others the way you want to be treated. Violence only breeds more violence, so through ahimsa, the practice is to choose something different. Instead of flicking off the person who cut us off in traffic when we’re running late, perhaps we take a deep breath and recognize that they are probably running late too. 

However, ahimsa is not excusing bad behavior; it’s choosing to deflect bad behavior with something other than more bad behavior. It’s choosing peace over violence and compassion over harm.

Ahimsa is the first guideline set in the yamas, which are meant as “instructions” for how to interact with the outer world. However, the practice of non-violence can also be applied to the Self.

How do you talk to yourself? Are your words kind, encouraging, and loving? Or are they violent, dismissive, and harmful? 

Your thoughts matter just as much as the words you speak. The practice of ahimsa means bringing conscious compassion to the way you think, speak, and act—the energy you put out into the world. And if everything in this universe is made of energy, doesn’t it makes sense to increase the “good vibes” instead of the toxicity? This world is violent and devastating enough. Let’s choose peace instead. 


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