In the yoga practice, ahimsa is one of the five Yamas, or moral vows. We tend to think of nonviolence and how it relates to beings outside of the self: eat plants not animals. Don’t hurt other people. Be kind and compassionate in thought, word, and action. This basic social contract is incredibly important in creating a world in which all beings can thrive. But what about ahimsa in relationship to the self? It’s hard to take the concept of ahimsa and turn it reflexively back on the self especially when so much of the harm we do to ourselves we rationalize as beneficial. “If I just push hard enough, it will be worth it.” Let’s unpack the three main categories of violence towards the self and how we can practice ahimsa to create a better relationship with our very own souls.
Like with all things you do for the first time, there have been a ton of learning opportunities. Failing has been the best teacher in compassion and empathy. I am a perfectionist my nature. So, doing things wrong irks me at the deepest level. The learning curve has been steep. Almost everyday is filled with things I don’t know, lots of mistakes, some sort of failing. I have learned so much about myself and the ways in which I can grow as a person from the consistency of new experiences. And while that’s all well and good, there are a few things I didn’t anticipate. In the hopes of smoothing out the already complicated transition of moving to a new city, I give you all the things I wish I had known before I made the jump across the country
It is not possible for all of life to be completely wonderful and effortless all of the time. The contrast between each high and low is what helps us conceptualize and appreciate the difference between joy and despair, healing and hurting, fully realized awe and detachment. Yoga and meditation are incredible powerful tools because they allow to gain some, if not all, of our agency back from circumstances that seemingly have swallowed us whole. With a healthy perspective and a non-attachment to feelings and thoughts as our identity, we gain freedom from feelings and reclaim our ability to manifest the lives we deserve.