Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Ahimsa translates to “Non-harming” (harmlessness). To not wish harm to any living creature — not even to any lifeless object. Ahimsa is about the intent, rather than the action itself. It is an attitude of universal benevolence.
Ahimsa is the very first of the 5 yamas (ethical guidelines) in Patanjali’s yoga sutras.
We’re referring to non-violence in all aspects of life.
This refers not only to physical violence, but also to the violence of words or thoughts. What we think about ourselves or others can be as powerful as any physical attempt to harm. To practice ahimsa is to be constantly vigilant, to observe ourselves in interaction with others and to notice our thoughts and intentions.
If you practice Ahimsa in all areas of your life, you practice yoga daily.
Instead of harming others, you are serving others.
The physical effects are powerful - you feel compassionate and connected. This creates a sense of calm and identification with everyone and everything.
Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injury. It is positive, cosmic love. It is the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love. Ahimsa is true sacrifice. Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is Shakti (power). Ahimsa is true strength. - Sivananda
Integrate into Yoga Practice
be gentle to your body - listen to boundaries and find personal edge and not going beyond.
be mindful - observe any pain and discomfort in poses. This is a form of harm.
observe how we might cause harm to ourselves first, helps us see how we cause harm to others.
learn to respect and celebrate your unique needs, strengths, challenges, and aspirations.
Written by: Lisa Czerny @swiftyyoga