Yoga is more than just the Asana or postures on the mat.
When studied at depth, it is broken down into Pantanjali’s eight limbs or branches, where part one, is focused on the Yama’s. To simplify this, a “Yama” (five in total), is an ethical practice one must adhere to in accordance with the yogic lifestyle. Consequently, if all limbs are practiced and mastered, the eighth stage of transition is the reward of Samadhi: spiritual enlightenment.
“First do no harm”
Ahimsa, naturally comes first in the process. The definition of the Sanskrit word is NON-VIOLENCE. Not just to people around you, your friends, colleagues and relatives; but most importantly, (and often overlooked) to your SELF. When practiced with patience, it removes hatred in ones self and toward others. Lack of self esteem. Lack of regret. Lack of self pity and depression. Lack of jealously or fear. Lack of purpose and anger. Lack of anything that is holding you back from your own greatness. The purpose of this first and foremost stage of living is to rid the self of all negativity and self doubt, and find within – radiant self-love.
As cheesy as this may sound, it is in fact something we all struggle with deeply on a daily basis, yet find it hard to admit.
To help you understand the depth of Ahimsa, I’ve put together a list of violent acts that one must be ridden of in order to move onto the second Yama: Satya (Truthfullness).
Violent physical acts of cruelty towards people, animals, nature or your self. This means hitting, fighting, punching, slapping, kicking, pushing, cutting, biting and obviously killing. Any movement that can harm another, is considered a violent act. One shall refrain from inflicting any harm physically towards another being.
Physical acts also relate to how you treat your own body. The REST you allow, the food you eat to NOURISH, the EXERCISE you take in order to move, the PRIDE in your appearance and the overall commitment to your body’s HEALTH and FITNESS.
Violent mental acts means watching how you speak. To friends, to colleagues, to your boss, you family, your loved ones, your children, your pets, your servants and servers. Different cultures, different ages, different people from ANY walk of life. Treat everyone like an equal, and you will be able to master gratitude for others in any situation. Think about how each of the people listed above brings something great into your life daily – who doesn’t appreciate a barista-brewed coffee? Say THANK-YOU, and mean it.
Stop complaining about the traffic, don’t get on the waiters case if your meal is a touch late, don’t argue over the sake of a few dollars that mean nothing to you, stop talking about others behind their backs, don’t put people down, don’t use swear or harsh words, don’t complain about things that can’t be resolved and don’t fill yourself up with hatred by letting simple things bother you. LET IT GO.
All people, should be TREATED AS AN EQUAL – with love, appreciation and gratitude. Treat people how you want to be treated; give them the love and respect that you wish to be cast upon yourself; and eventually it will come. Practice kindness and compassion towards others and let it stream back into your own life with abundance.
Emotional violence is how you treat your SELF. How you speak to your self. In your head, out loud, to others. No more will you apologise out loud by uttering “sorry, dinner might be a bit overcooked” , “my house is a tip, I’m sorry, I should have cleaned it better”, “I’m a bit fat to look good in that dress”, “I’m not smart enough to get into that university”, “I’m not good enough to teach there”, “I can’t do that, I won’t succeed”, “I couldn’t ask him/her out, they would reject me….” any of those lines sound familiar? You’re not alone if the answer is YES.
Ahimsa, (non-violence), is about letting go of negative speak and replacing with words of love and encouragement – even if it’s only in your head, or in front of the mirror. Replace thoughts of “I can’t” with “I CAN if I get started now”. Replace “I’m not good enough” with “I’M ON MY WAY to becoming GREAT at…” . Replace “I’m embarrassed about my…” with “I’m PROUD OF my…” Focus on the good. Focus on your strengths. Focus on the GREAT PERSON that you are, and work on the parts you want to improve with CONFIDENCE and GRATITUDE.
Focus on your ambitions and goals and break them down into achievable chunks. Catch yourself in a negative thought, ask yourself WHY it’s there, and move on to the next positive step toward your future.
Stop thinking you can’t because, YOU my dear; YOU CAN.
Stop letting excuses hold you back from what you really want, OWN those thoughts, and cast them off – they don’t belong here anymore.
Stop over thinking, stop getting your head, stop being your own worst enemy and work on becoming your own BEST FRIEND.
Practise being grateful for everything you have. Everything you ARE. Everything you know that you can become. And when you’re ready, the universe will start working WITH YOU to create your vision, and bring it TO LIFE.
Physically, mentally and emotionally.
Love and Light,
Monique Elouise x