And so our practice of the yamas begins. As dive into the topic of AHIMSA, or non-violence, I just want to speak to the yamas to clarify a little bit of the purpose of them. Like we previously  noted, the yamas are a list of 5 ethical codes the yogi practices daily. Why? Because how you treat others in this world is a testament to your inner state. Hence, the foundation of this practice, and the first of the yamas is ahimsa, meaning non-violence. 

When we harm others, we harm ourselves- and vice versa. But to me ahimsa runs a lot deeper than just "Don't be an asshole". I think ahimsa needs to start in the mind. The sutra on ahimsa has a translation that says "In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease." And I think this is because when you are not in a state of fear, you cannot be threatened. 

In a lot of ways violence is something we inflict upon ourselves through negative thoughts or even perfectionism- its all fear based. And fear lives in the imagination, in a fantasy of the unknown. 

Ahimsa comes from the inside out. Its starts with the thought, then the words, then the actions. 

So with that I hope we can all cultivate ways to actively hold space for the practice of ahimsa. Maybe today is the day you turn that self criticism into awareness and compassion- even if just for today. Maybe you choose to make really wholesome food choices instead of eating stuff you know is bad for your guts. Maybe today you let go of any residual negative emotional stuff and chose to feel a little more chill. Maybe you recognize the social drama but chose to stay out of it today. I don't know, these are just ideas  :) But ultimately it for our outer state, or our lives to be ones of fulfillment and peace- we have to start inside, with ahimsa. Practice this yama everyday in even the smallest of ways and you will see massive positive transformation happen in your life on and off the mat.  NAMASTE!!!