What is Ahimsa? How to practise Yoga without hurting yourself.
How to practise Yoga without hurting yourself. Sounds stupid right? However, somehow when mystery injuries appeared (how did that happen?) The journey of healing starts. It reminds me how we should always treat ourselves with Ahimsa during our regular life, not just our practice ( a Yama, the first limb of yoga's eight limbs).
Ahimsa, a foundational principle of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, means non-harming and non-violence to any living creature. To practise Ahimsa is to cultivate compassionate living through the heart and mind. A code we can apply to ourselves but often don't think about it during our daily movements. The aim of observing Ahimsa fosters a more straightforward, cleaner relationship with the mind, body, and spirit hence allowing us to live more freely and with ease, hopefully without karma or guilty residue.
Try taking time to tune into your body and feelings. Do not try to force yourself into any uncomfortable position. Surprisingly this Ahimsa approach to your yoga practice may be what your emotional body and mind need more than your body. Often the case in yoga classes, where you are encouraged to back off from a stressful, physically challenging posture than push through the pain to achieve a pose. YES, you do want to tax the body to receive all the yogic benefits, but also, NO, you don't want to push the body and risk injury, reducing your quality of life.
Let yourself hone the skill of body scanning and opt for less intense modification. At first, it is hard to gauge what is too much sensation and what is not enough sensation. The good news is the more you engage Ahimsa in your practice, the more body-mind awareness you will gain while harnessing your present-moment awareness. Gradually, your body will progress towards achieving the posture or towards body acceptance if the yoga pose is anatomically out of range. The whole process of approaching the practice with Ahimsa is the internal conversion with yourself is how yoga connects your mind, body and soul. "pain is your body's loving way of keeping you safe and preventing you from killing yourself" - Kathryn Budig.