Ahimsa is defined as the principle of nonviolence toward all living beings. Ahimsa is one of the 5 yamas which are the ethical, moral and societal guidelines for all yogis. Think of the Yamas and Niyamas as the 10 commandments for yogis. They all seem very simple and straightforward to follow at face value. That is until you dig a little deeper.
Let’s talk about ahimsa. Nonviolence toward all living beings. Sounds easy enough, right? If you really study ahimsa, this nonviolence includes not just action, but also nonviolences in words and thoughts. So how can we really practice ahimsa when the world around us seems to be going mad?
Nonviolence in action:
Nonviolence in action can be broken down so many ways. Here are some examples, some obvious and some not so obvious.
- No physical harm to others unless it is self defense
- Stop eating meat as this obviously physically harms animals
- Eating a balanced diet and working out to protect your body from harm
- Meditation to protect your mind from harm
- Removing yourself from stressful situations
Nonviolence in words:
- Speak gently to others
- Be careful of how and when you present bad news to someone. Is the bad news really necessary for the person to know? If so, present the bad news at a time when the person will be able to handle it best.
- Speak positively to those around you. Spread confidence, happiness and love.
Nonviolence in thoughts:
It is possible to harm ourselves and other with thoughts. Here are some tips to guard those thoughts.
- Guard what you let come into your mind. Stay away from social media and the news if it will negatively affect your thoughts.
- Let go of any negative thoughts you have.
- When you notice thoughts of jealously, anger or judgement try to figure out where those thoughts and feelings are coming from and let them go.
As you get deeper into your yoga and meditation practice, you will find it easier and easier to follow ahimsa. You mind will become more clear. You will find yourself interacting with other from a more loving place. A more genuine place within yourself. The best part is the true love and acceptance of yourself. Namaskar.