Ahimsa, Always

As described in Patanjali’s yoga philosophy, Ashtanga yoga, also known as the 8 limbs of yoga, consists of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and lastly, Samadhi. This creates a way of living and union of the mind, body and spirit. In the first stage, Yama, it refers to the rules of social behavior and moral code such as ethics and integrity, as well as how you manage yourself due to external stimulus. There are five yamas, namely ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (non-lust) and aparigraha (non-possessiveness). In this article, we will mainly focus on ahimsa and explore ways to practise it in our daily lives.
Ahimsa is so important because Patanjali was very clear that without adhering to ahimsa, all the other limbs will never bear fruit. To put it simply, ahimsa means non-violence, gratitude, compassion and mindfulness. Love takes over when we practise kindess and abstain from not only violent words and actions but also thoughts. In addition, all beings have the right to be happy and free and “to hurt another being is hurting one self”. The first way to practise ahimsa is to have self-love and acceptance. Awareness does not equate to reaction, we can simply embrace and observe these violent thoughts and let it gradually fade away. Everyone holds unhappiness and pain inside them sometimes but when we practise ahimsa, we can positively overcome the negative feelings. Also, we can consciously replace each negative thought with a loving one. Secondly, have compassion. We rise by lifting others up. We can sit with someone and listening with an open heart and mind, go on a criticism fast, learn to let go and not be too hard on others, including yourself. Thirdly, love nature. Appreciate what Mother Nature has to offer and since we are what we eat, we should generally avoid rajasic and tamasic foods. We should do our part by going for more carpool rides instead, start recycling, use less plastic and electricity.
The world will be a more wonderful and warm place to live in if everyone starts to consciously practise ahimsa, then perhaps there will be less violence and terrorist attacks and climate change will be reduced.
Done By: Mabel Sim
YTT September Weekend 2017

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