If you’ve ever studied any Buddhist or Hindu literature, you may have heard of the concept of ‘Ahimsa’. It translates from the Sanskrit to broadly mean ‘non violence’, a beautiful and noble concept, but one that tends to have an interpretation for many people that is relates their behaviour toward others. This is absolutely part of ahimsa, and the teachings of Gandi, Ramana Maharishi, and A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada all speak of the importance of incorporating this concept in our lives.
Ahimsa is a critical part of the yogic tradition, and forms one of the key tenets of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the first of the eight limbs known as the Yamas or restraints. Ahimsa can definitely be incorporated into our daily experience – simple acts of eating, how we treat others, out mindfulness around actions all bring ahimsa into the lived experience through our own behaviour.
Where we don’t often bring ahimsa to bear is on our selves. Its common at Krishna Village to see yogi’s on the mat during a class giving themselves a really hard time as they try and get into a posture or push themselves to the next level, rather than celebrating the biggest win of all – that they are on the mat and doing their practice.
While we’re drinking our Jeeva Juice and embracing the myriad animal friendly vegetarian or vegan treats, perhaps its time to check in with that self critical voice that lurks in all of us. Next time you are taking yourself to task for something – your fitness, health, body shape, relationship status, bank balance, or critically comparing yourself to your friends or frenemies on Facebook, stop and give yourself a big dose of ahimsa. Violent thoughts toward and about yourself create violent energy against the person who you might want to give some extra loving to – YOU!