Ahimsa for yourself

Ahimsa, one of the Yamas (self-restraints or regulated attitudes) set out in the Yoga Sutras, requires a person to practice the avoidance of causing physical or emotional harm to another living thing. It is the practice of withdrawing from negative thoughts of things outside of your control, which can lead to hostile or violent behaviour towards others. Instead, the mind should make space for peaceful or neutral thoughts.

Ahimsa also applies to the attitude and thoughts you have towards yourself. If you don’t practice non-harming on yourself, how can you practice it in the outside world? It must start within. There are many things that we do to ourselves that are destructive and cause self-harm, such as having low self worth because you compare yourself to other people or putting others first to the detriment of your health.

To practice this Yama we must always be watching our thought patterns when interacting with others. By keeping a check on your thoughts and intentions, you can change your attitude towards yourself and others, thus cultivating a more positive behaviour, discarding aggression and anger.


– Alex Ottignon