Yoga Philosophy: Yamas – Ahmisa

Mudra for Kindness: Padma Mudra
November 22, 2019
Meditation of the Month: Refuge
December 6, 2019
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Yoga Philosophy: Yamas – Ahmisa

We are continuing along the long and fruitful path of Kindness, as we have finished out day of Thanks, and hopefully spent some time with Gratitude over the last few days, we have the opportunity to continue this exploration, and expand our horizons through the study of our yoga texts. Last month we looked at the 8 limbs of yoga as a way of getting into some of the deeper aspects of the practice, and today we will kick off a month + look at that first branch of yoga, the Yamas. The Yamas are often considered the Don’ts of the Yogic moral code, and are those things best avoided, or constricted whenever possible. 

We start are look at the Yamas with Ahimsa, or non-harming, non-violence. The true meaning of this Sanskrit term is ‘to not strike’, and is often translated as to “do no harm, cause no injury.” There is a very literal interpretation of this, which equates (as do many of the Yamas and Niyamas) to religious cannon. We see a similar phrase, direction, ‘thou shalt not kill’ in the Bible. 

Often times because of this literal translation we think of acts of non-violence, such as Gandhi and his protests of the treatment of individuals in India. The pillars of Gandhi’s resistance were Truth and Non-Violence, and these actions gained world-wide attention, and led to this form of protest and action gaining attention and adoration in some circles. 

Though we applaud these efforts, and have learned much, if we all viewed Ahimsa in this grand manner, some of us may feel as though we are letting ourselves, and perhaps the world down! And in fact, we are not. There are so many opportunities to shine the light of Ahimsa on ourselves. To look at our own thoughts, deeds and actions through a lens of non-injury and non-harming, to see how we may bring a little more kindness into our space. In our YTT, in the context of the Yamas and Niyamas we watch a video by Shawn Achor: https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en Take a look, and see how a few of these ideas presented here, to push us away from the average (as he describes it) can bring us into a Kinder space. 

Can we:

  • Take the time to down 3 kind things about yourself today. 
  • Take a moment to remind yourself of something you are grateful you tried this week. 
  • Perhaps send someone else a message of gratitude/compassion/kindness!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week filled with Kindness… Next month… Relaxtion 🙂