Creating a Resolution to Create Less Harm

Ahimsa is a practice of not harming yourself or others. Others includes humans, animals and the planet. It is the fundamental philosophical work of a yoga practitioner and my favorite piece of yoga philosophy to talk about.

We practice Ahimsa for many reasons. Bringing awareness to our thoughts, words and deeds that cause harm and refraining from doing them brings us and those we contact a greater sense of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Ending the negative habits we have leads us to freedom and can even bring enlightenment. 

I practice Ahimsa in many ways. One of them is being very conscious of the meat and animal products I take in. For instance, I only eat certified organic meat, because of the multiple ethical and environmental standards that it requires. I also drive a scooter, which gets very good gas mileage, to reduce my impact on the planet. 

For anyone in a position of authority this yama, or ethical observance, is even more important since those of us in those positions, whether they are at work, as a parent or in any community, have greater influence and impact on the lives of other people.

There are a multiplicity of areas of yoga therapy to incorporate ahimsa into. One of the most vital things I do is only assigning asanas that are appropriate for my client’s unique set of limitations as a means of preventing injury. Since Ahimsa isn’t just about actions, it is about how we think, as a yoga therapist I strive to have a positive attitude in how I think of others and encourage my clients, friends and family to be positive of how they think of themselves.

Everyone has their own work to do in this area. We live in an age of information so you already have some idea of your impact on the world. And, your thoughts, words and deeds definitely have an effect on your life. What is one change you can make right now that will reduce harm? What are some small actions you can make right now that will lead to bigger outcomes in the long term? Please leave a comment if anything comes to mind.