The term, ahimsa, is something you may have heard in a yoga class. The word is derived from the Sanskrit language meaning to practice nonviolence on and off the yoga mat.
Ahimsa suggests for us not to push beyond our physical limits just to please the ego. “No pain, no gain” is definitely not the yoga way! Is doing 108 sun salutations worth it if you wind up exhausted and sore instead of exhilarated? (Answer: no.)
The practice of mental non-violence is important, too. As we move through the asanas or yoga postures with ahimsa in mind, we can release negative thoughts we may have about our strength or flexibility in any pose. The idea is to move toward love and acceptance of our bodies just as they are in the present moment.
Embracing ahimsa, on and off the mat, can improve our own well-being. It can also have a positive impact on those around us.
This post was written by our guest blogger, Dianne Ochiltree. Diane is a certified 200-hour Yoga Alliance teacher. She serves as regular Teaching Assistant for yoga classes at Parkinson Place, a facility dedicated to clients with Parkinson’s disease; and teaches chair yoga at her home studio, Yoga from the Heart, in Sarasota, Florida. She is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). And a children’s author too! www.dianneochiltree.com