Ahimsa can be translated to mean 'non-violence' or non-harming', and as Patanjali eloquently puts it, 'in the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease'. Well, that sounds pretty darn great, doesn't it?!
In his book 'Light on Yoga', B.K.S. Iyengar says that Ahimsa 'has a wider positive meaning, love'. So, rather than thinking of Ahimsa in a supremely literal sense of not killing or not being violent, we can apply this concept to our everyday lives by showing more compassion and by embracing ALL of creation because we KNOW that all of creation makes up the one-ness of the entire Universe. This includes ourselves.
Ahimsa is not an external action that is only to be directed at other beings. It also needs to be internal. We need to practice showing ourselves compassion, kindness and love, because to do otherwise separates us from the whole, the one, the complete array of perfect creation.
Within a yoga practice on our mats, we can use Ahimsa to make sure we are practicing in a way that is suitable to us and where our energy/body/mind is at on any given day, at any given time. Are our actions causing us harm, or are they harmonious with what we need?
We could go on, but we're going to leave this one there because there's a LOT to unpack with these concepts.
Tell us: what is your experience or understanding of Ahimsa? Do you use it as an active practice? ✨