Sowing the seeds of kindness this January with a focus on Ahimsa
January is often a time when resolutions are made, and then quickly broken. Why do we feel the need to start a new year with a new version of ourselves? The constant battle to become, better, fitter, thinner, richer, or what ever your resolution might be this time around. Does it lead to happiness or is the negative connotation of always having a desire to change actually quite harmful?
Ahimsa meaning non harm is the first of the Yamas on the 8 limbed path of yoga. Yamas are universal morals, loosely translated in Sanskrit as "restraints". The Yamas offer 5 ethical guidelines for behaviours to avoid in daily life.
The great sage Patanjali says "In the presence of one firmly established in Ahimsa all hostilities cease" (verse 2.35) in this sense he is talking about non harm in all aspects of life. When we act with Ahimsa in mind this means not physically harming others , ourselves or nature, not thinking negative thoughts about ourselves or others and making sure that what we do and how we do it is in harmony rather than harm.
This is a constant practice, always evolving and not something which we must master overnight.
Ahimsa in our asana practice means we don't push ourselves over the edge but that we do challenge ourselves and explore in order to grow. Leaning in to that sometimes scary edge but never pushing beyond boundaries to the point of harm.
Across all classes this month Ahimsa will be our focus, without judgement reflecting and recognising where and who we may unintentionally be causing harm towards. Rather than wanting to change this new year we will embrace the things we love about ourselves and let go of negative thinking about our bodies. Accepting where we are and the body that we are in. We will use lots of props to work with and not against our bodies focusing on the harmony rather than harm.
We will use meditation to contemplate how Ahimsa is reflected in our lives. Cultivating non harm towards ourselves and allowing that to spread out to the world around us.