An international yoga instructor writes a healthy living blog with an emphasis on yoga.

Yoga Philosophy: Ahimsa


Ahimsa is part of The Yamas (moral requirements) in the eight limbs of yoga. The idea behind ahimsa is to practice non-violence both on and off the mat and intend to cultivate a conscious, non-judgmental awareness in your life. When we're fully aware of the impact of our actions, thoughts and words, and refrain from causing any mental or physical harm to ourselves and others, our lives become more whole.

The other day I did some pictures on the beach. The beauty (and curse) of not currently having a mirrored studio space is that I can do my practice while remaining inward, unaware of how my body and practice looks. The downside of this is that I can't physically see my alignment which is where the whole picture-taking thing comes in. When I saw the above picture, I started thinking that one little toe sticking out bothers me, and my hips should've been higher. In fact, I should've been able to just do the full expression in a complete backbend. I started to feel bad- and I forced my thoughts to come to a screeching halt.

This is a prime example of what not to do. :) Do not bash yourself with negative thoughts. Instead, practice ahimsa through sensitivity and become fully aware of yourself in a non-judgmental way. In my case, I needed to look at the picture and appreciate my body for where it currently is, and find beauty both in what I can do, and my room for growth. 


Off the mat, you can keep this idea in the back of your head. How often do you tell yourself you're not good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, pretty enough- you're miserable, your job sucks? All those negative (violent) thoughts tearing down any sense of self-worth and happiness you've created and you're left feeling broken. See what happens if you practice sensitivity and self-awareness- ahimsa. When you bring ahimsa into your life, observe how your mood changes, and how your life can become better. You deserve it.