February at Harlem Yoga – Ahimsa

Our February theme is one of the most fundamental principles of Yoga, Ahimsa. This foundational Yama can be distilled to its most basic meaning of non-violence (non-harm).  However to practice Ahimsa fully is more than just refraining from violence towards another, it is the practice of non-harming in all aspects of life, from the physical, to the mental. How does what we eat impact others and the planet? How do we speak about others, and how do we speak to ourselves?  How do we treat our bodies and where do we direct our minds?

There are countless moments every day to practice Ahimsa. In Asana, we can look for our edge while respecting our limitations, or we can use force and get frustrated with ourselves – imposing harm both physically and mentally.  When we experience disappointment, anger, or shame – as we ALL do – we can allow the feelings to arise and pass with compassion, or we can cling to them and give them fuel, or try to force them away.  Our thoughts and actions literally transform the brain on a neurological level, so each time we choose compassion and acceptance, we  are increasing our capacity for more of the same.
As Thich Nhat Hanh states so simply and beautifully, Peace in oneself, Peace in the world.
with Love, Erica & Laurel