Ahimsa, which translates to “non-violence” or “non-harming,” is one of the key principles of yoga. It is first mentioned in the Yoga Sutras, a collection of ancient texts that guide the practice of yoga.
The concept of ahimsa is rooted in the belief that all living beings are connected and should be treated with respect and compassion. This means practising non-violence not only towards other humans, but towards animals, nature, and even towards ourselves.
In modern day life, ahimsa can be applied both on and off the yoga mat. In our asana (physical) practice, we can practice ahimsa by listening to our body and avoiding pushing ourselves beyond our limits, which can lead to injury. We can also practice ahimsa by being mindful of the energy we bring to our practise, avoiding self-criticism and judgement.
Off the mat, ahimsa can be applied in our daily lives by being mindful of our actions towards others and the environment. This includes avoiding harming others through our words or actions, choosing sustainable and eco-friendly practices, and avoiding supporting companies that exploit or harm living beings.
Ultimately, the practice of ahimsa is about cultivating a sense of compassion and respect towards all living beings, including ourselves. By embodying this principle both on and off the mat, we can create a more harmonious and peaceful world.