This month’s topic at The Yoga Room Nantucket is Ahimsa.
Ahimsa is commonly translated to mean non-harming or non-violence, sometimes even compassion; both towards oneself and towards others.
If you want to expand your yoga practice off the mat, continue to read on. Ahimsa is one of the first yamas of the yamas + niyamas, which make up the first and second of Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. If you’re already like, wait, what? Breathe and continue reading. 🙂
Ahimsa isn’t simply the practice of refraining from violent actions or words, it’s also about abstaining from violent thoughts. Sounds simple, until you start to watch your thoughts.
I spent the last week simply observing the ways in which I may or may not have a violent dialog. I am a vegetarian, borderline vegan. I try not kill ants even though they are totally in my space when I’m preparing my lunch and I couldn’t harm a spider if I tried, despite my general dislike for them (exception: I like daddy long legs). Here are ways in which violence came up for me this week : Abstaining from violent and harmful actions and thoughts is easy for me when I am comfortable and feeling secure. Not so much when I am presented with information that makes me sad and or angry. Reading about animal rights and legislation that might not get passed makes me fucking pissed. I get angry and then I’m upset. This happened the other day and I started to wash the dishes in the sink and I because I was not being present and feeling upset, I accidentally stepped on the dog’s paw. And then almost immediately, I placed a wet bowl down on the counter top that smashes the ant that I took great care to avoid hurting earlier. Guess what? I was acting in a violent way. But guess what else? I noticed. I changed. I breathed. I thought about what I CAN DO to help make the changes that I want to see happen in the world and I continued to wash the dishes with mindful attention. Here’s another thing that I noticed. I am GREAT at telling myself what I am not good at. Before I get too carried away, I will pause there. As the month goes on, I am continuing to learn more about this beautiful Yama called AHIMSA and as the month unfolds, I will write more.
“The thought manifests as the word. The words manifests as the deed. The deed develops into a habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and it’s way with care and let it spring from from love born out of concern for all beings… As the shadow follows the body, as we think, we become.”