ahimsa

ahimsa

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.

 

  1. No physical harm to others unless it is self defense
  2. Stop eating meat as this obviously physically harms animals
  3. Eating a balanced diet and working out to protect your body from harm
  4. Meditation to protect your mind from harm
  5. Removing yourself from stressful situations

Nonviolence in words:

 

  1. Speak gently to others
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

  1. Guard what you let come into your mind. Stay away from social media and the news if it will negatively affect your thoughts.
  2. Let go of any negative thoughts you have.
  3. 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.

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13 Comments

  1. Such a deep meaning of ahimsa. I don’t want to be negative but I feel that I, myself, will not be able to obey all the nonviolence. Most specially the thoughts when I am angry😂 my thoughts are very violent! A good read!

    1. I know exactly what you mean. I’ve been on my meditation journey for about 9 months and I am just now coming to even toy with the idea of ahimsa. I think it is tough for even the calmest person.

  2. Very good advise. Recently I don’t have very good sleep, I tried to medicate but my mind just couldn’t concentrate.

    1. Meditation takes lots of practice. I found it easier to follow short guided meditation with the Insight Timer app. You should check it out. It’s free!

  3. This is such a beautiful article! I had never heard of Ahimsa before but I love that the idea of non-violence extends to any sort of harm not just physical harm to others.
    Anshula recently posted…A Very Texan Fall At Hall’s Pumpkin FarmMy Profile

    1. Ahimsa is fairly new to me as well. I have fallen in love with the yogic principles.

  4. Perfectly said. I’m a huge fan of meditation, as a matter of fact I write about it all the time over at my blog (https://novelmindset.com). I’ve got to absolutely agree with you on the yogic principle of nonviolence towards your own mind, and meditation is a great way to achieve this!

    Overall, there’s some great knowledge here, thank you for sharing!

    1. I look forward to checking out your blog! Meditation is a pretty powerful tool. I’m always happy to meet other fellow meditators!

  5. Kristine Nicole Alessandra

    This is a very good resource. Thank you for posting this article. I must admit that although I do not engage or incite physical violence of any sort (even if I am 100% angry), but I am guilty of bad thoughts and sometimes hurtful words. This is something I really have to work on.

  6. It can be so difficult to find inner peace and get away from the stresses of daily life. These are all great thoughts to keep in mind when we go about our daily activities.

  7. I was surprised at how much of this I naturally already do. However I am a meat eater which I will not change on that one. I give props to those who choose otherwise though. Unfortunately I do struggle with #1 in the thoughts department, the world is going mad and it’s really hard to avoid that reality…

  8. I really enjoyed reading this – I can honestly say I could 100% do with taking this up because I am such a hot head but I know deep down, I’d never last a day haha

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