"...for it has a wider positive meaning, love."
-B.K.S. Iyengar on Ahimsa, Light on Yoga
Raja Yoga, described in the Yoga Sutras, is based on an eight-limbed system. The best mental image for this is a tree, a big, giant Yoga tree. The eight limbs of this tree all represent an essential element of yoga practice. Asana or posture practice is just one of these limbs. Two of the limbs are known as the Yamas and the Niyamas, moral restraints and moral observances respectively. The lingo gets tricky, but stay with me. Ahimsa is one of the Yamas, a moral restraint. Ahimsa means non-harming, to live in a way that is established in non-violence, or having an intention to not cause harm with your actions whenever possible. On a purely physical level it seems pretty straight forward, but then expand this Yama out into other aspects of your life. Your actions, your interactions with others, your relationship with nature, your food choices, your words. As you begin to heighten your awareness, especially through yoga practice, take notice of ways you can bring more ahimsa into your life. It may take more courage and more effort, but it is a practice that can be well worth it both for you and everyone around you.
Rebecca Carey Yoga
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