The meaning of the Sanskrit word ahimsa is non-harming or non-violence. One association with ahimsa is the decision to not eat animal products, but no matter what your dietary choices, ahimsa refers to a quality of care for self and others. Our practice of ahimsa is about our intentions, thoughts and words as well as our actions. Choosing to cultivate the habit of unconditional loving kindness toward ourself is the beginning of compassion and the foundation of practicing non-harming.
Making the intention to live ahimsa in your life is an important step in your yoga practice, and requires the willingness to look honestly at the way we think. So often we criticize and push ourselves, expect too much or not enough or settle for suffering that arises from unloving choices in thought and action. Violence toward our own body/mind can be subtle, and in order to see and change those patterns, we must look closely and decide to be kinder to ourselves. Noticing our patterns of thought, and bringing mindfulness to our reactions and habits is how we start.
Ahimsa starts with getting to know yourself better, looking at your life with the eyes of love and kindness. Ask yourself what it is your truly need, and move toward peace by choosing love in all your moments. Take the time today to start the practice of ever-deeper compassion with yourself today….and it will overflow to all your interactions and choices. Here in Hawaii, we call that ‘Living Aloha’ ! Namaste’ !