Yoga in real life: Ahimsa

Updated: Nov 24, 2018

My mission is to help ambitious women take yoga from the studio and bring that peace and centeredness into their everyday lives so they can actually enjoy everything they create for themselves. So many people do not realize that there is more to yoga than just the physical poses. There are actually 8 parts, or "limbs," to the practice of yoga, and the first ones are about your relationship with both the outside world and yourself. There are 10 concepts laid out in the ancient yoga scripts, called the Yamas (rhymes with llamas, and it means restraints) and the Niyamas (like NEE-yama, meaning observances).

Over the next 10 weeks, I'll be sharing the details of these, and you can check out tips and ideas over on Instagram.

This week's topic is ahimsa (ah-HIM-sah), which means non-harming.

Ahimsa is also sometimes translated as "kindness." What I love about ahimsa is that to live it fully, we're supposed to apply it to every single area of our lives. It's also a very personal practice and requires balance.

Here's an example: most avid yogies practice vegetarianism because to practice ahimsa toward animals. However, if you know that your body doesn't function well without eating meat, then eating vegetarian wouldn't be ahimsa toward yourself. That person would then need to find their own way of eating with ahimsa, which might be practicing gratitude for the animals that gave their lives for your health and well being, or perhaps trying out Meatless Mondays.

Food is a rather small example. The biggest way this plays out, in my opinion, are the judgmental thoughts we wield toward one another and ourselves. By judging others, we create a division between them and us, and we miss an opportunity to feel love and connection. This point can sound so trite, so I encourage you to really try it on this week.

To try this on, here's a challenge for:

Explore your judgments. I suggest you keep a judgment journal nearby where you jot down your judgmental thoughts. And that's really any thought that gives you a negative feeling. So it can be judgement of yourself, too, not just the angry or critical thoughts that cross your mind about other people.

The next step is to note how you act when you think that thought. So, if you think your coworker dresses really poorly, do you avoid talking to her? Do you give her nasty glances? Write it down.

Finally, do the opposite. So that "dumpy" coworker? Take her to lunch and have a real conversation with the intention of learning more about her. I'd be willing to bet that by the end of the week, you'll have a new surge of positive feelings about yourself and the people around you.

Looking forward to hearing your experiences!



© 2019 by Libby Meis

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