Ahimsa – Patanjalis Yoga Sutras

Pada II. Sutra 35
Ahimsa pratisthayam tat samnidhau vaira tyagah
“From reversing to stability of non-violence,
all hostility is renounced in your presence
.”

letting-go

 

 

Ahimsa is for me one of the most useful guidelines to remember when practicing yoga and meditation. Both when it comes to our physical yoga practice, our meditation practice and in life in general, remembering to practice ahimsa brings more gentleness and ease.

It has been especially useful to apply this principle in my meditation and when noticing the tendency of the mind to be critical. While sitting in meditation with an intention of integrating Ahimsa, it is easier to become aware of the state of the mind that limits and criticizes and rather learn to rest in the peaceful nature of our mind.

When we stop criticizing our selves, it is easier to also view the world with more loving eyes and experience the world as a friendlier place. The mind is used to constantly evaluate every person, experience and one self. It is nothing wrong with this evaluation in it self, but it becomes challenging when we take our judgments and analyzes for truth.

In Ahimsa I experience a letting go, a surrender to something bigger, a gentleness within and an experience of humbleness, like everything in my experience becomes softer and more at ease. In letting go I have to let go of everything I believe I know and rather experience this moment and everything in it directly.

For instance in meeting with a new person or someone I already know, letting go of everything I believe about him or her, can create a whole new way of relating to an other. We become more open, more innocent and also we allow this person to be who ever he or she is in this moment. We become more alive, we are more present in the love within and there is a deeper connection with one another. We experience each other in what we are behind the thinking level of the mind. It is also from this state easier to practice forgiveness, as there is an understanding that anything hurtful said or done are coming from the places where this person is hurt.

When approaching our yoga practice in this way, we can let go of every idea about our body and our selves, staying present with the experience right now can give us a deeper experience in the yoga practice. You can explore and be curious to how each pose feels in the body? Where is your spine in space? Can you create a sense of more space and softness in the body while still staying strong? Can you accept where you are right now and stop looking for the next pose or the wish to be stronger or more flexible where you are now? What is the quality of your breath? Can you notice your minds tendency to comment on your practice?

When you approach your meditation with ahimsa, you can start noticing where your mind tends to judge. Do you try to go deeper in meditation in a way of forcing your awareness? Do you try to push away thoughts or escape emotions or uncomfortable physical sensations? Can you accept the experience as it is now and find the most easeful way of relaxing in your awareness? Can you accept everything or maybe the nothingness that goes on in your awareness right now? Can you notice if there are any judgments and realize you are not the thoughts? Can you accept the judgments going through you without hooking in to them, without believing them, without thinking them? Can you notice the space between you as awareness and everything that goes through your awareness? Can you put more focus in your awareness without pushing any movement away, just with bringing in more presence?

In our daily life, a way of practicing ahimsa, can be by noticing where we are being negative towards our selves or others. With becoming more conscious of this we can start creating a different choice. Every time we choose to appreciate or be grateful towards an experience, an other person or towards our selves, we train our mind and emotions to become more positive. Also the simple letting go of negative thinking, is enough to create more space within to let go of any negative emotion attached to it, in this letting go the experience of life most likely will change.

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
Oprah Winfrey

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