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Monday, December 26, 2011

Ahimsa


"Ahimsa (Sanskrit: अहिंसा; IAST: ahiṃsā, Pāli: avihiṃsā) is a term meaning to do no harm (literally: the avoidance of violence – himsa). The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hims – to strike; himsa is injury or harm, a-himsa is the opposite of this, i.e. non harming or nonviolence. " - Wikipedia.

'Ahimsa' or 'non - violence' immediately draws images of Gandhi and MLK to mind. But there is a notion that non-violence implies 'non-reaction' or 'non-doing'. The truth is, I cannot think of another human trait which involves more control and empathy. To face someone who has wronged you, to look beyond their flaws, to forgive them and not give in to our human nature to whoop ass; that seems like a lot of 'doing' to me. Non violence is also not restricted to physical violence. Every time you have felt jealousy, anger or pleasure at someone's misfortune; you have practiced violence in your heart.

It is easy to give in to our urges and vices. It takes a stronger person to say, 'Maybe my body does not want to do a headstand or the scorpion pose, and that is just fine'. It takes a stronger person, when slapped, to show his other cheek. In that one moment of ahimsa, you have conquered all fear, and you know your true strength. When you practice ahimsa on your mat, towards your own body and mind, you will manifest it in the world. Which is what makes yoga so special because no matter how many poses you can do or how calm you seem, if you are filled with anger and hate, you have understood nothing.

Practicing Ahimsa does not mean being apolitical or indifferent. It means, you quiet the demons, listen to logic, forgive ignorance and stay strong.

Namaste.

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