One of my most treasured aspects of Yoga is how we go about with showing up for ourselves and others. This is the essence of Pantajali’s non-harming Sutra known as Ahimsa. Pausing to consider kindness (ahimsa) influences the choices you make and how you truly show up for yourself and for others. Ahimsa (pronounced “ah-heem-sah”) literally means “non-harming” or “non-violence” in Sanskrit. In it most basic level, it’s refraining from causing harm.
As we practice ahimsa in today’s modern life, there is more to this idea of non-harming than simply refraining from acts of physical violence. We understand now that pain can be more than just physical – it can also be emotional and mental. The deepest pain we feel is often very emotional and it most often sprouts from our relationships with other human beings. The grief that we experience when we lose someone or a part of our life that meant so much to our identity. The loss of a relationship or a painful life change can bring about deep and soul-shattering pain.
When we practice ahimsa, we are thinking about how our actions could hurt others and doing so invites us to take into consideration the potential physical, emotional, and relational consequences of our actions. We pause to consider kindness.
I am frustrated with the non-kind world that exists where division and opinions flood our everyday lives. I am saddened at the lack of humanity and desperate need to be heard in what seems to be a constant “what about ME” mentality. I am exhausted with the lack of kindness for fellow human beings.
But, I chose kindness despite my own struggling emotions. I offered ahimsa for the exhausted world in which I get to share Yoga. I pause. To listen. To see. To feel. To give.