It is no secret that my yoga practice has had a profound influence on my life and on the work I do. Today, I want to talk about Ahimsa – the first of five precepts of the Yoga Sutras. Simply put, ahimsa is the practice of non-violence, but let’s be real… it’s not so simple.
What does it mean to be committed to the practice of non-violence? There are infinite ways of interpreting this call – some say it is a call to be vegan; others to protest war.
I certainly believe animals should be respected, and like so many others, I dream of peace.
But how can I practice ahimsa in a deep and meaningful way even if I consume animal products – which I do – and have given up on thinking that marching through the streets is an effective way of persuading our government – which I have?
HERE’S HOW I PRACTICE AHIMSA EVERY DAY
I do my best not to compare myself to others
I am highly suspicious of anyone using the words should and shouldn’t (that can include me) and practice shame resilience when confronted with these words.
- When my ego is in the driver’s seat, I gently give myself a nudge to reconnect with my higher self. I find this less violent than telling myself that I’m stupid or flawed for being human.
- When I feel pain – physical or emotional – I aim feel into it instead of pushing past it. This sometimes means slowing down. It sometimes means stopping to reevaluate.
- I try to admit when I am being judgmental without judging myself harshly for being human.
- I strive to be honest, even if my truth brings pain to another.
- I love my body, and I treat it with love and respect even when I don’t like something about it.
Whether you can put your foot behind your head or couldn’t dream of touching your toes, I’d love to hear from you! How do you practice ahimsa