The Yamas and Niyamas from Patanjalis 8 limb path are guidelines for living a yogic lifestyle. These are not “rules” for being a Yogi. Yogis are known for a practice that is non-judgemental. Yogis typically accept and even embrace differences. Therefore, we need to consider these guidelines as suggestions and interpret them ourselves and determine what they mean to us as individuals.
The first Yama is Ahimsa. This is considered to be perhaps the most important of all the Yamas and Niyamas. Ahimsa simply means “non-harm.” As yogis, our goal is typically to release stress and relieve pain, so causing pain in a yoga practice is very contradictory. Our practice should take us to a place of freedom from pain and stress.
Taking Ahimsa beyond the mat is very common here at our studio. At Drishtiq, we have a family, a community of members that care deeply for each other and give support whenever the need arises. It is not uncommon for someone to stop and sincerely inquire about how things are going with our family, job, or health. I love that part of being a member here.
I think of Ahimsa as meaning taking care of ourselves, health, community, environment, and our world. If enough of us take Ahimsa to heart, we can change the world!