The Yamas | Ahimsa

The Yamas and Niyamas are principles for living and make up the first and second of the eight limbs of yoga. Yama means self-restraint, self-control and discipline.

The concept of Ahimsa is "do no harm." On a broader level, it is the embodiment of nonviolence and the valuing of all life. Ahimsa is practiced at three levels, that of actions, speech and thoughts.

The Metta Center for Non-Violence writes, "Ahimsa is usually translated as 'nonviolence,' but as we have seen, its meaning goes much beyond that. Ahimsa is derived from the Sanskrit verb root san, which means to kill. The form hims means “desirous to kill”; the prefix a- is a negation. So a-himsa means literally “lacking any desire to kill."

Jesus is recorded in chapter 5 of the Book of St. Matthew saying, You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill."

Practical Ways to Practice Ahimsa

This week, what about practicing ahimsa very close? What if you start with yourself? Could you become aware of actions, speech and thoughts that harm yourself? 

Do you self sabotage?  Speak negatively about your performance?  Do you think abusive thoughts about your appearance, character or past actions? 

This week, start practicing ahimsa toward yourself.  You may find the practice more challenging than you would think. 

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