Over the summer I have been reflecting on and studying some of the foundations of a yoga practice and have been pleasantly surprised at the added awareness to my everyday life. These are known as the yamas and niyamas which are guidelines of living and navigating in the world through our relationship to ourselves and others. They are the foundation of all yoga practices and without a firm foundation we lack the necessary building blocks to navigate in this world with joy and happiness. The 1st Yama, which is called Ahimsa or non-violence/non-harming, calls for us to pay attention to how we treat ourselves and others. My first reaction to thinking about this was that I wasn't a violent person, that violence is something that is horrific and found in the news or on social media. However, having a closer look I realized that violence itself isn’t something that is always so drastic, it can sometimes trickle into our lives in such subtle ways that we are not even noticing and can affect us on so many levels. Take for example negative thoughts that turn into self-hate words or a negative attitude that bursts into fury at a red light, in a line up, or at someone you love. Every part of our yoga practice and life can come back to this first and foremost important practice of Ahimsa. As you move through your day today and for the next week, I invite you to pay attention to how you treat yourself and others. Pay attention to how you receive someone’s ideas or criticism. Notice what your reactions or words are to someone close to you when they make a mistake. Listen to your silent thoughts around who you are. Ahimsa calls for us to be aware of the impact our choices have on each other and the world.
“Compassion is the signature of Higher Consciousness. Non-violence is the tool to evolve into the Higher Consciousness.”â€• Amit Ray