Ahimsa is the first Yama, one of the five Yamas within the eight limbs of yoga which are the ethical, moral and societal guidelines for anyone and everyone. Whether you practice yoga or not these limbs can be wonderful guidelines that can influence how we live our lives.
Ahimsa can be identified as a practice of non-violence in all aspects of life, from the physical, mental and emotional.
Non-violence is defined by honest compassion, empathy and love. You can achieve this by embracing love and allowing yourself to be open in a way that is free from judgement and expectations. We very often choose to escape from certain traits held within ourselves. Did you know that talking to yourself in a negative way can be seen as violence towards yourself?
HOW DOES NON-VIOLENCE MANIFEST IN DAILY LIFE?
To understand how non-violence can manifest in our lives each day, we must first learn how subtle daily actions and responses contain elements of violence. This often happens against ourselves. When our thoughts contain negative responses like disappointment, resentment, or guilt, when we feel shame, we are subtly creating violence. If you can't forgive someone for something they've done against you, or if you can't forgive yourself for something you've done, this is an act of violence because it keeps you within the negative cycle, and sometimes the cycle can be overwhelming or difficult to break.
Consider how violence can function in the subtlest of ways. Violence disguises itself well; it manifests in words, actions and even inner thoughts.
Yoga is a great way to access Ahimsa in our daily interactions. By practicing yoga, you can confront your own inner 'demons' with compassion and empathy. This then allows you to pave a pathway for transforming negative emotions and tendencies without acting on these feelings. You observe them, your reactions towards them.
Ive said within classes before, "Allow your reactions to turn into responses".