The art of Yoga extends beyond striking postures on the mat. There is so much more to the practice of yoga. It is essentially a guide to the way of life. The ethical guidelines that help channel real discipline into
our lives, are comprehensively put down in the form of Yamas and Niyamas. They are capable of transforming us from within and influencing our thoughts, actions, and personal and social relationships.
There are 5 Yamas in Yoga practice. They are - Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Aparigraha, and Brahmacharya. Among the 5 Yamas, Ahimsa is the first one. It directly translates to ‘non-violence’. Ahimsa can be defined as an act that shows mercy, peace, love, and compassion towards all human beings.
The concept of Ahimsa as a Yama cannot be confined to physical harm to another being. It is a conscious integration of peaceful and compassionate actions into all our interactions so as to ensure that no physical, as well as psychological harm, is inflicted on another person.
It is natural for one to wonder how one can integrate Ahimsa into our current lifestyle. Here are 3 easy ways to infuse the principles of Ahimsa into your life for holistic wellbeing.
1. Physical wellness
The meaning of Ahimsa extends to the compassion shown towards animals and other beings and compassion shown towards your own body.
Turning towards a vegetarian diet has its own health benefits. But opting for vegetarianism means that you’re now not thriving on the death of other less-abled creatures.
Cutting down on junk, harmful substances like alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc allows you to treat your body with compassion. You live and experience the world through your body, so it is imperative that you respect your body and nourish it with fresh, nutritious, wholesome, and healthy food.
2. Mental Well-being
Everything begins with a thought, thus even non-violence has to stem from a compassionate thought. Negative thoughts, anger, fear, jealousy, or envy drive violent thoughts. These feelings can be detrimental to one’s mental health as well. Positive thoughts help cope with stress and anxiety, increases resilience, and even reduce the risk of certain heart conditions. All these aspects help enhance your overall mental wellbeing. Allowing yourself to keep negative thoughts at bay is a way of showing compassion towards your own self.
3. Resolving conflict peacefully
Attempt to solve problems using productive means of communication. Negativity and anger will get us nowhere. Understand that everyone is on their own journey, facing battles of their own. Foster patience to be able to understand another person’s struggles and efforts. Foster positive thoughts and condition yourself to see the good in the other person. Be the change you wish to see in the other person, the earth can be a better place for everyone.
Be a calm, non-aggressive person. Be it behind the wheels or in conversation with someone, always learn to stay calm and spread nothing but love, peace, and harmony.
Your actions are constantly strengthening your relationship with yourself and everyone around you and creating ripples of impact on everyone.