Yoga Spirit by Steve Nakon

More Than Just Our Bodies

Although the physical practice of yoga can be quite therapeutic and healing, yoga teaches us that we are infinitely more than just our bodies. The practice of yoga leads us deeper into ourselves and deeper into our connection with the divine.

The ancient yoga teachings, the Yoga Sutras, offer in-depth guidance on this journey. The foundational information contained in the Sutras includes five suggested approaches called the Yamas. Practicing the Yamas in our daily lives will help us to achieve greater clarity and peace. The first of these Yamas is Ahimsa. Ahimsa translated means non-harming.

We may ask, “How can we practice Ahimsa?” Many of the great yogis spoke of cultivating an attitude of compassion for all, especially those who are suffering, less fortunate, weaker than ourselves. This can be the foundation upon which we build our Ahimsa practice. As we go through our day, we can choose thoughts, words, and actions based in compassion for ourselves, for others, and for all living creatures. When unsure ask, “Will this harm any one or any thing?” We have a choice. We can make a difference in our lives and in the lives others in our world.

How we further or deepen this practice is as individual as each of us. To expect perfection in this or any other quest would not be realistic. Let us make our goal progress in bringing ahimsa into our daily lives and relationships. Imagine if each of us makes every effort to live in a compassionate, non-harming way, what an impact we can have each and every day.
Personal Practice

Take a few minutes every evening to reflect on the opportunities you received throughout the day to practice peace. Consider ways in which you can further your Ahimsa practice. Allow yourself to feel gratitude for the progress you make bringing Ahimsa into your thoughts, words, and deeds.

This Yoga Spirit article was originally published in the Transitions Bookplace Newsletter, November/December 2002

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