I am currently transfixed by the Yamas. Five “ethical standards” through which we can live our lives in better and more fulfilling ways. By realizing these Yamas, we have the ability to treat ourselves and others with the respect we all deserve, and subsequently prepare ourselves for our Asana practice on the mat.
The first Yama is Ahisma. Ahisma, very simply translated, means “nonviolence.” Now, not only does this mean nonviolence toward other living, sentient beings. In my mind, it also means nonviolence towards oneself. All these posts about “loving yourself” are attempting to get at just that.
Think about friends or family who have gone through difficult times in their lives. Oftentimes, I hear people struggle through challenging moments in their lives by engaging in negative self-talk. Talk that situates blame for being in the current position squarely on the shoulders of the person doing the talking. I find that in these challenging moments, it is of the utmost importance to practice the greatest and most fierce acts of self-love in order to fully express what we need and when we need it. If you are struggling and feeling alone and a hug from someone would make you feel better, is it not easier to ask for the hug rather than berate yourself for needing that hug in the first place? I think so!
Ahisma is not just negative self-talk. It can also mean engaging in negative behaviours we use to compensate for the negativity we are feeling inside. By not treating ourselves with love mentally, physically and emotionally, we are not setting ourselves up to better serve others mentally, physically and emotionally. Not only that, by neglecting or punishing ourselves, we prohibit our abilities to practice Ahisma to others in our lives.
How do you practice Ahisma when it comes to yourself? To others? How do you connect this Yama to your practice on the mat?