The 1. Yama Ahimsa: A path to more love & harmony in your life

Ahimsa is the first of the five Yamas in the yoga philosophy and means non-violence. Ahimsa challenges us to be kind in our thoughts, words and actions towards ourselves and the world around us.  

Obviously ahimsa means to not physically harm nature, others or ourselves, but it also goes a step further: It is also about not thinking negatively about others or ourselves. Ahimsa translates to all areas of our lives: how we show up or ourselves, how we talk to our loved ones, what food we choose to eat, how much empathy we can show for those in need, how we treat animals…

By observing our thoughts, words, and actions and recognising any tendencies towards harm and by becoming aware of our own inner conflicts, fears, and insecurities, we can begin to transform them into sources of love, peace, and compassion. When we learn to nurture ourselves, we  enhance our capacity to have compassion to those around us.

Ahimsa: Why it is so important
  1. Ahimsa encourages us to reflect on the consequences of our actions and develop a sense of responsibility towards others. It helps us become more conscious of our behavior and promotes ethical and moral growth.
  2. By embracing ahimsa, we foster an environment of peace and harmony. It promotes understanding, tolerance, and dialogue, which are essential for building healthy relationships and peaceful coexistence in society.
  3. Practicing ahimsa contributes to our own well-being by reducing stress, anger, and negativity. It cultivates a positive mindset and promotes inner peace, leading to improved mental and emotional health.
  4. Ahimsa extends to the natural world, advocating for the preservation and protection of the environment. It encourages sustainable practices and responsible consumption, fostering a harmonious relationship with nature.
  5. Ahimsa inspires us to address social inequalities and work towards justice and equality for all. It motivates us to stand up against injustice, discrimination, and violence in various forms.

“Ahimsa is not the absence of violence; it is the presence of love and compassion for all beings.”

– Mahatma Gandhi
8 actions for more Ahimsa in your life
  1. Self-Awareness: Start by cultivating self-awareness and observing your thoughts, words, and actions. Notice any tendencies towards harm or violence, whether towards yourself or others. Mindfulness practices such as meditation can help develop this awareness.
  2. Non-Violent Communication: Practice using non-violent communication techniques, such as speaking kindly, listening attentively, and expressing yourself without judgment or aggression. Seek understanding and empathy in your interactions with others.
  3. Kindness and Compassion: Show kindness and compassion towards all living beings, including animals and nature. Extend acts of kindness in your daily life, such as helping someone in need, volunteering, or being considerate of others’ feelings.
  4. Harmless Diet: Consider adopting a diet that aligns with ahimsa, such as vegetarian or vegan, to avoid causing harm to animals. Choose food sources that promote sustainable and ethical practices.
  5. Thoughtful Consumption: Be mindful of your consumption habits and make conscious choices to support businesses and products that align with values of non-violence, sustainability, and fair trade. Reduce waste and opt for environmentally friendly alternatives.
  6. Conflict Resolution: When faced with conflicts or disagreements, strive for peaceful resolution through dialogue, negotiation, and understanding. Avoid resorting to violence or aggression in your approach.
  7. Mindful Action: Consider the impact of your actions on others and the environment. Make choices that minimize harm, such as using eco-friendly products, reducing energy consumption, and supporting social causes that promote justice and equality.
  8. Cultivate Inner Peace: Engage in practices that cultivate inner peace, such as meditation, yoga, or mindful exercises. These practices can help you develop a calm and compassionate mindset, enabling you to respond to challenging situations with equanimity and non-violence.

Start small. Invite more harmony in your daily life by

?eating a fresh and plant based meal

?‍♀️respect the limits of your body and back off yoga poses that feel painful 

? forgive a person for something hurtful they have done to you

? forgive yourself for when you pushed yourself too much 

JOURNAL PROMPTS ON AHIMSA

The key for more ahimsa is real compassion and true love for ourselves and our surrounding. The first step to get there is self awareness.. Here are some journal prompts to reflect and to connect with ahimsa:

  • Reflect on a time when you acted with aggression or harm towards someone or something. How could you have approached the situation differently with the principles of ahimsa in mind?
  • Think about a recent conflict or disagreement you experienced. How could the principles of ahimsa have influenced the resolution or outcome? What steps can you take to bring a non-violent approach to conflict resolution in your personal and professional life?
  • Are there ways in which you engage in self-violence or self-harm through negative thoughts or self-criticism? What drives my negative self-talk or judgment of others?
  • What steps can you take to reduce harm and contribute to the well-being of all living beings?
  • Consider the various relationships in your life – family, friends, colleagues, or even strangers. How can you incorporate the values of ahimsa into these relationships?
  • How can I introduce more kindness into my daily rituals?
  • What areas in my life can I act with more compassion to others and to myself? 
  • How can you align your diet with ahimsa and reduce harm to animals and the environment?

Remember that practicing ahimsa is a continuous journey of self-reflection and growth. Start with small steps and gradually expand your commitment to non-violence in all aspects of life.