Welcome back, dear readers. Yesterday I shared an overview of the eight limbs of yoga as outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. We’ll begin to take a closer look at the first of these eight limbs, the yama, and the first principle, ahimsa, in particular.
The yama, the first of the eight limbs, are ethical restraints or behaviors for social harmony. The yama allow us to contribute to the health and happiness of the world in which we live.
The yamas are broken down into five principles: ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (right use of energy), and aparigraha (freedom from greed).
Ahimsa, the first of the yamas, is translated to mean non-harming or nonviolence. The idea is that we should not intentionally injure or be cruel to any creature or person, including ourselves, through thought or action. Practicing ahimsa means we should act with kindness, friendliness, and thoughtful consideration.
It takes strength to practice ahimsa. Far too often, acts of kindness, compassion, or caring are viewed as weak or undesirable. Training the mind to look for the good in ourselves and others and acting on those thoughts leads to unity. Wouldn’t it be nice if the prevailing attitude was not about “us versus them” but rather “we’re all in this together”?
In peace and unity,