Ganesh Sharma practices ahimsa and kindness in a revolved low lunge at Myriad Yoga

“When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.” — African Proverb

Weekly Focus: Ahimsa — non-harming, the first yama or personal observance

Ahimsa, means non-violence or non-harming. This yama applies to all aspects in life. Practicing ahimsa means to avoid physical harm to others, ourselves and nature, to speak in harmonious ways of ourselves and others, to avoid action which may cause harm to others, ourselves and nature through consequence, to remove harmful thoughts or judgements about ourselves and others, and to generally live in harmony with the world around us. The act of ahimsa has a wide scope of meaning.

This week, we focus on finding ahimsa within our thoughts and narratives, beginning with the Self. Talking to ourselves with negativity, dismissing our own abilities, or allowing ourselves to feel excessive guilt and shame are examples of harmful and limiting beliefs towards the Self. In what ways might we be holding back our auspicious nature with limiting beliefs and language?

We are infinitely potential. Our capacity lies well beyond what we can imagine. When we consider ahimsa, non-harming action, how do we consider the ways in which we talk to ourselves or to each other. Do we use language that works to inhibit our auspicious potential? Do we judge ourselves or one another, tear ourselves down with negative thoughts or limiting beliefs?

Kindness to others begins with ourselves. If we are not able to speak and think of ourselves with kindness and respect, it becomes difficult to lend that same love to those around us. This week, consider the ways in which our narratives may be acts of violence, and how we may turn them around so that they do not limit our ability to achieve all that we desire.

Here are a few practices to help combat limiting beliefs:

  1. Set a time for [2] minutes. Begin to journal everything that you love and adore about yourself. Include strengths, talents, challenges, personality traits, literally everything and anything.
  2. Consider [3] limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Some examples could include: “I always mess up,” “I cannot accomplish tasks,” “No one cares about me.”
  3. Now, write down these [3] limiting beliefs as opposite statements about what you are capable of. For example: “I learn + grow with every mistake,” “I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to,” “I am worthy of love.”
  4. Write each statement on a post-it note and place them where you can see them daily — on your bathroom mirror, in the car, on the refrigerator door.
Passive Pose of the Week: Chandra Bhedana Pranayama (single nostril breathing)

pronunciation CLICK HER

Cool the body, mind and spirit with this gentle, calming, moon-connected breath. For this single nostril breath, you will breathe in and out of the left nostril, to create a nourishing and cooling effect.

  • Come to a comfortable seat. Close your eyes and bring focus to your breath. How does the breath feel? What thoughts are in the mind?
  • Take your thumb to your nose and seal your right nostril.
  • Gently breathe in and out of the left nostril only, for 2 – 3 minutes. 
  • Release and breathe normally. Notice how you feel now.

Our left side is related to Chandra, the moon. The moon provides qualities that nourish and soothe. She represents the brain and the mind, emotions and sensitivity. We use this breath to connect with our softness helping to relieve tension, stress and mental burden. Often times stress and tension can increase anger, sadness and frustration with ourselves. When the mind is soft, it may be easier to speak to ourselves with kindness and love.

Active Pose of the Week: Parvirtta Anjaneyasana (revolved low lunge)

pronunciation CLICK HERE

Stay low in this twisted lunge to keep it grounded, reducing strain in your legs so that you have more space to wring out and breathe. 

  • Come to a low lunge with your right knee forward and bent towards 90 degrees. Your left knee will land on the ground behind you.
  • Turn towards your right and let your arms spread wide. 

You can use breath and movement with this pose to bring the sensation of wringing out into the mind and the body. This action might help you clear your thoughts so that you can imagine literally squeezing out negative attentions. Before twisting, reach the arms alongside the ears and take an inhale and an exhale. Inhale as you twist and circle your arms wide. Exhale fully and turn forward lift your arms up. Inhale and twist, exhale and turn forward. Repeat 3 – 5 times and imagine a weight lifting from the mind as you exhale.

Once finished, find a position to rest such as child’s pose before taking the second side. Once both sides are complete, take a few moments to rest and notice how the mind feels.

Join us in class this week to practice loving kindness towards yourself, those around you, and the world!!! See the schedule HERE.