The First Yama- Ahimsa

Ahimsa

A-The opposite
Himsa- Injure; Cause harm

 

 

The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character.

So watch the thought and its ways with care,

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings.

-Unknown

 

Universal benevolence.  Universal love; true love.  Total and complete absence of violence from one’s mind, body and spirit.  

Ahimsa is referenced in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, under the eightfold path.  It is included in the first limb-yama, which deals with one's ethical standards and sense of integrity. This limb focuses on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in the external world.  Patanjali says that once ahimsa is mastered, even feral animals and savage criminals will become tame and harmless in our presence.  The term was popularized in modern times by Mahatma Gandhi. By non-violent resistance, Gandhi led India to political emancipation from Britain.  

In the practice of yoga, it is important to understand that the same life flows in the veins of all creatures. Compassion to yourself, your practice, and others is a key component to living yoga not only on your mat, but also in every moment.  The principle of ahimsa must be understood in subtle ways, not only in gross (physically harming another). To harm anyone in the slightest way, even by disrespect, will harm not only the person doing the action, but also the one receiving it.

Ahimsa is not possible without fearlessness.  Ahimsa is not solely negative non-injury, it is positive, cosmic love. Ahimsa is the development of a perspective in which hatred is replaced with love. Ahimsa is true sacrifice. Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is Sakti (power). Ahimsa is true strength.