Patanjali set out his definition of yoga in the Yoga Sutras as having eight limbs such as:
Ahimsa, as a part of first limbs of yoga- Yama. Ahimsa means nonviolence. Nonviolence is the personal practice of being harmless to one’s self and others under every condition. It may come from the belief that hurting people, animals or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and it may refer to a general philosophy of abstention from violence. It may be based on moral, religious or spiritual principles, but also the reasons for it may be purely strategic or pragmatic.
- Ahimsa in Diet
A very common question most of the people will ask including myself, do I have to turn my self as a vegan or vegetation while I am practicing yoga. Regardless you consume animal product or not, do what it right and suitable for your body. There is a balance of everything in the world including our food chain. What I feel is we should not be cruelty to animals. Maybe once in a week try to be a vegan or vegetarian to help in the nature balance.
- Ahimsa in Asana Practices
Started from complete beginners to practices yoga, we can all feel frustrated when our physical yoga practice doesn’t progress as quickly as we’d like to. Remembering Ahimsa throughout our yoga practice guides us to let go of thinking negatively about body; accepting ourselves completely – no matter how strong or flexible we are at this moment. Non-violence in the physical sense here means we don’t push ourselves over the edge; of course, we challenge ourselves in order to grow, leaning in to that sometimes-scary edge, but never pushing ourselves to the point of harm.
- Ahimsa in Environment
in the past 100 years humans have produced and used a lot of plastic. It’s cheap, strong, light and versatile, but all of it eventually ends up in the ground, in the air, and in the sea – which is where marine animals like albatross, dolphins and turtles ingest it. our plastic waste has invaded the highest mountains and deepest oceans. no one knows exactly how long it will take to disappear, but it’s at least hundreds of years. Plastic sticks around in the environment for ages, threatening wildlife and spreading toxins. Plastic also contributes to global warming. What we can do is from today onward, try to reduce the usage by carry your own bag when you go for grocery shopping and bring your own contain for food. All these small changes can actually make a huge different to our earth.
- Ahimsa in Thought
The mind is the most powerful tool in our possession. Everything begins from this point. Our thoughts and emotions play such a big role in our overall well-being. If we don’t weed seeds of negativity, of self-harm, of self-criticism, those weeds begin to grow and multiply. Rather than celebrating the gift that we are, we start to judge, compare and criticise ourselves and others. Himsa, or violence, at the level of thoughts, slowly gets translated into words and actions. If you are constantly critical of yourself, you will inevitably be critical of others. If the only thoughts going through your head are negative, there is a minimal chance that you are sending positive vibes into the world. Coming from the space of accepting and appreciating the innate beauty, wholeness, and imperfect perfectness in ourselves and people around us will strengthen the roots of ahimsa in us. From now, learn to love and be kind yourself, observe your anger and deal with it in a better way.
Photo source: http://www.drkeithkantor.com/eco-friendly-non-eco-friendly-foods/