“Ahimsa” is the Sanskrit word for nonviolence—for respect for all living things, including yourself. It is also the first and foremost of the five Yamas of yoga (the moral, ethical and societal guidelines for the practicing yogi). The more I delve into yoga, the more I recognize that it is one of the strongest teachers of this principle. The word “yoga” itself means “union”, and there are many different ways to interpret this. In my own opinion, it stands for the union of your body and mind. By this belief, yoga is a way to unify and create balance between your physical form and your spiritual essence.

When thought of this way, Ahimsa takes on a whole new meaning. It means compassion for yourself when your pose isn’t “perfect”. It means quieting your ego when you lose balance in a pose that you typically have no trouble with. It means coming into child’s pose when you are hurting. It means not worrying about what anyone else thinks of the way your practice. It means incorporating nonviolence and compassion into every single class.

In today’s yoga world, there seems to be a lot of competition. Who can get the most followers on their yoga social media? Who can strike the coolest pose for a picture? Who can buy the most expensive, eclectic yoga pants? Even the most dedicated, learned yogis can get caught up in it all, losing sight of what yoga was created for in the first place.

Ahimsa is a yogic principle that brings me back down to Earth. It grounds me in the knowing that as long as I am being compassionate with myself and with others, I am practicing the utmost yoga.

– Aurena Green

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Yoga brings us into balance, through physical postures, breath awareness and mental relaxation. Through the practice of Yoga, an overall state of strength, stability, peace and joy evolves into your life.