Ahimsa and Kindness

person holding clear and red floral ball

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Ahimsa or non violence is the foundation of all yoga philosophy. Most of us might think we are not violent people. We don’t go around bullying or hurting others or animals. We are loving and giving, and would never want to do any harm.

However, there are many ways that we unconsciously do “violence” on ourselves.

How often do you stay at your desk to get through your work without a break or refreshment? Are you pushing yourself to exhaustion?
Is your self talk kind and supportive, or do you judge yourself harshly and put yourself down?

To paraphrase Gandhi’s words “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Being forgiving and compassionate to yourself is the essential step to practicing ahimsa in the world.

This is fundamental for all of us on the path of yoga.
We must start with ourselves and allow the past damage of inner violence to heal.

Everything starts with our awareness of it.
Here are ways to bring about more awareness and change.

Decide to commit for one day to notice your internal conversations. Take time to journal and capture your thoughts.
At the end of the day. What did you notice? Is it time to change your conversation?
How can you start every thought with kindness?

An other practice is Loving Kindness Meditation. If your usual meditation is guided or based on mindfulness or mantra, commit to a loving kindness practice instead.Choose words that resonate with you.

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you free of trouble and the causes of trouble
May you live your life with ease

metta-prayer

Yoga off the Mat – Breathe Deeper

Enjoy this re-post and reminder to breathe more deeply to stay balanced and reduce stress in life

oooOOOooo

person rolling green gym mat

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“Yoga is about changing our habits”. ~Rodney Yee

One of the habits that shows up for everyone as they begin their yoga practice, is how we shorten and even hold the breath when sensation increases.

Holding our breath is a defense mechanism of the human body. It prepares us to react to a threat. However, it increases the tension and stress in the body, rather than bringing it to a state of balance.

In yoga we learn to deepen the breath when sensation increases. We breathe through tension and discomfort and allow the energy to keep flowing, rather than getting stuck.

What a great lesson to bring to our lives!

Yoga increases sensitivity and awareness. It will reveal where the body is tight, where mobility is limited and where energy is blocked.

In yoga we learn to breathe, feel, and where possible let go. Ultimately this helps us make more skillful, conscious choices and allows us to create greater fulfillment in life.

And it all starts with the breath.

Inhalations bring in new energy and help us feel. Exhalations release negative energy and help us relax.

Breath deeply as you move through the highs and lows of life, and make the ride easier.

Namaste

Yoga off the Mat – Breath Deeper

person rolling green gym mat

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“Yoga is about changing our habits”. ~Rodney Yee

One of the habits that shows up for everyone as they begin their yoga practice, is how we shorten and even hold the breath when sensation increases.

Holding our breath is a defense mechanism of the human body. It prepares us to react to a threat. However, it increases the tension and stress in the body, rather than bringing it to a state of balance.

In yoga we learn to deepen the breath when sensation increases. We breathe through tension and discomfort and allow the energy to keep flowing, rather than getting stuck.

What a great lesson to bring to our lives!

Yoga increases sensitivity and awareness. It will reveal where the body is tight, where mobility is limited and where energy is blocked.

In yoga we learn to breathe, feel, and where possible let go. Ultimately this helps us make more skillful, conscious choices and allows us to create greater fulfillment in life.

And it all starts with the breath.

Inhalations bring in new energy and help us feel. Exhalations release negative energy and help us relax.

Breath deeply as you move through the highs and lows of life, and make the ride easier.

Namaste

The Row Boat is Empty

What we think of as wisdom, is often a clarity of perspective.

In Judith Lasater’s book Living Your Yoga, she shares a Zen story that really shifted how I saw things. Here it is:

empty row boat

One day, a man is in his rowboat on a lake, and it begins to get foggy. Through the fog, he sees another boat coming down the towards him. The boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster.

He starts to shout out, but the boat keeps coming and smashes right into him. The man gets angry and strains to see who was so thoughtless and stupid! And then he sees that the other boat was empty. His anger collapses in that moment.

This is a classic story on our whole life situation…

There are a lot of empty boats out there.

There are a lot of angry people feeling like victims.

Just as an empty boat that rams into us isn’t targeting us, so too, people who act unkindly are often driven along by the unconscious pain inside of them.

By pausing and stepping back, we can find our middle ground and clarity of perspective.

Mantra for Today: “The rowboat is empty”

* Inspiration – from the quietness

This is a beautiful observation about what can happen when we find the quietness with us. When we find our Middle ground.

In this space is more than calming the mind or exploring our spiritual path, it is vital for our overall wellbeing.

Take time to pause in your day and find the quietness within.

wholeness and freedom

“From the quietness, we can make healthier choices about our actions.

From choice comes freedom.

From freedom comes wholeness.

And wholeness is the state of yoga.”

 From Judith Lasater’s “Living Your Yoga”

* Sell the Goat

 

cheeky goatThis story about a man, his family, a rabbi and a goat caught my attention in Judith Lasater’s  foundational and transformational book “Living Your Yoga”.

“A villager lived in a tiny house with his wife, 6 children, mother-in-law, a cow, and some chickens. It was making him crazy. So he went to the village rabbi and asked for help. The rabbi said he could solve the problem: he told the man to buy a goat. Thrilled, the man immediately went out and bought a goat. Now he had a wife, 6 children, a mother-in-law, a cow, some chickens, and a goat.

The house was even more chaotic than before. The villager went back to the rabbi and told of the even crazier chaos. Again, the rabbi said he could solve the problem. “Sell the goat.” The man went immediately and sold the goat. Suddenly, all he had was a wife, 6 children, a mother-in-law, a cow, and some chickens.Things were positively peaceful without that goat.”

When we can step back and see things from a different perspective, it brings new clarity and understanding.

“Your life is as it is. How you feel about your life is up to you”

So much of what we call wisdom is really about getting clear and seeing things from a different perspective. We all tend to get hooked into our thinking and believe it to be the truth. But our thoughts are not the truth, they are just thoughts… and we have the ability to change them.

Take a moment and reflect on the following questions:

How ready and willing am I to see an other person’s perspective or to take a bigger view of a situation, rather than just my own?

How aware am I of the ways that I am stuck in a rut or am living on auto pilot?

It takes time to reflect on this and bring new awareness of our outer and inner worlds.
We can also start to bring new awareness by considering what might be causing frustration or struggle right now.

Am I attached to seeing this in only one way, or are there other perspectives to be explored?

What am I grateful for here?

What do I need to let go of?

Perhaps there is a goat to sell.