Ahimsa translates to non-harming or non- violence. It is often associated with why yogis are often vegetarian or vegan, however there are so many ways in which 'violence' can appear. Of course, there is physical harm we can cause towards another but it can also apply towards harming ourselves. How many times do we push ourselves physically until we are injured or burn ourselves out with work, becoming deprived of rest or even proper nutrition. Even in the name of health we can cause more harm than good. This is something common I see in my line of work, especially at the 'health retreat' where I teach. Over exercising, disordered eating and a mentality of push push push are all forms of harm, even if it disguised as wellness. I know, because I have been there before. In fact, it was this word ahimsa that became a mantra, a tool for healing my obsession with 'being healthy' or at least being thin, that led to an eating disorder in my teenage years. I didn't know much about the philosophy of yoga back then, but somehow I knew of this term, and one day it popped into my head like a loving parental voice and made me take a step back. Slowly, I began to realise that my well being and self care were far more important than the way I looked, and my mental health and inner peace became my priority. I had to learn how to look after myself from a place of self love, rather than self loathing, from a place of love versus a place of fear. Ahimsa was the starting point of this long journey for me and ignited my deep passion for the practice of yoga.
Nowadays, I am understanding more and more that there are many subtle ways we can cause harm or use violence. For instance, our way of communicating can be a form of violence. Have you ever heard of the approach - non violent communication? "Non Violent Communication is based on the assumption that all human beings have capacity for compassion and empathy and that people only resort to violence or behavior harmful to others when they do not recognize more effective strategies for meeting needs".
Words can be hurtful and cause a tremendous amount of pain and injury so it is important to bring consciousness and compassion into the way we communicate with others. Violent communication can be seen when we judge, blame, criticise, guilt, shame, label, or insult someone, and this implies to all that negative self talk we give to ourselves too. One point I heard in a podcas