Yoga Exploration: Ahimsa

by Katie Bock

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Ahimsa or Non Violence is our first Yama.  Yamas are restraints in an “ethical code” discussed in the Yoga Sutras, Written by Patanjali.  Patanjali wrote Ahimsa patisthayam tat samnidhau vaira tyagh, translation- All hostilities cease when one is established in nonviolence.  (Sri Swami Satchidananda)

What is violence?  According to Merrium Webster it is the use of physical force to harm someone, to damage property or great destructive force or energy.  This does not simply fall under one situation, violence can be a multitude of things.  It can be to the self, to others, physical acts, verbal attacks, and so on.

Violence comes from fear.  Fear is of the imagination; it is what we create in our minds.  When we allow fear to keep us hostage, violence seems to become the only viable option.

We must find courage inside to push past that fear and face it.  Courage does not mean having no fear, it means to face that fear and have faith and belief in yourself to move through it.   Finding compassion, self-love, and balance.  Connecting with ourselves.

In her book The Yamas & Niyamas, Debra Adele compares this to Mr Miyagi in the Karate Kid.  He is a force to be reckoned with yet he does not use that force unless threatened. This is living in Nonviolence.

Nonviolence is the basis of all yoga philosophy.  That is the importance of this single act. Consider this, if we move through life in violence how can we expect the world around us to do any different?  The more peace you find in yourself the more peace you will find in the world.

Dive Deeper into Ahimsa: Nonviolence, read The Yamas & Niyamas By Deborah Adele.