Yoga Philosophy-Ahimsa & Mahatma Gandhi

Yoga is more than simply postures (asana). In fact, there are 8 limbs of yoga in the world. The first limb is Yama (self restraints). Yama can be divided into Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha. Ahimsa is the ancient Sanskrit term usually translated to ‘non-violence, being non-injurious which transforms to love of all’.

 

When I learnt these in my first yoga theory class, the first thought which popped up in my mind was of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most well known indian great saints and philosopher of non-violence. Hence, i guess it can be a good way to deeply understand Ahimsa via learning Gandhi’s philosophy. Gandhi adopted nonviolence as a philosophy and an ideal way of life. In additional, he was the first to extend Ahimsa (nonviolence) from the individual sphere to social and political dimensions.

 

The essence of ahimsa is non-violence of our own heart. The violence we showed to each other is the outward manifestation of our inner negative motions. This violence manifests through actions,words and thoughts (physical,mental and spiritual) towards objects (ourselves, other people, animals or all life forms). Thoughts of guilt,fear,anger are all the seeds of violence.When we are angry about something, when we cannot forgive someone, when we feel upset because we didn’t achieve the goal, we become violent to ourselves or the rest of the world.

 

However, Satya (truth) is a way to find Ahimsa (nonviolence), at the same time,  Ahimsa (nonviolence) is the only means for realization of Satya (truth). As Gandhi said:“Ahimsa and Truth are so intertwined that it is practically impossible to disentangle and separate them.” When a person who is firmly established in truthfulness, he will be a living truth, and all his actions will be aligned to truth. Therefore, when what he does or speaks is aligned to nature’s modes of operation, the violence will reduce in his body.

 

Back to yoga mat, don’t be angry or upset when you can’t perform the best asana alighment, try to understand and accept your body limitations and to be be aware of thoughts and body.

 

Dali Sun (200hr Weekday Hatha/Ashtanga yoga)