Non-Violence, or Non-Harming is a foundational principle in the yogic life.
This concept is the beginning of the 8-Limbed Path to a Yogic Life. The Yamas & Niyamas, or principles by which one lives, are meant to help us make good decisions and live a healthy life, a life of kindness, and give back to the communities in which we live. Ahimsa, meaning non-harming, is the first branch and arguably the most important of the 5 Yamas. Ahimsa is not thinking violent thoughts, commit harming actions, or do damaging things. Ahimsa can influence more than just the way we treat others when face to face, but can be the way we are influenced to make purchases, what foods we eat, and ultimately, the way we contribute to society as a whole.
There is so much hurt and violence in the world, without more people living a kinder, less-violent way of life we will not have a future. I personally believe ahimsa can mean how we treat the earth: whatever you do has a consequence. It can mean how we support (or NOT support) social justice or racial equality. It can mean how we take care of ourselves & our future selves like saving for retirement or getting preventative medical care.
Naturally, it is hard to live in the modern world and absolutely not harm anything. Everything we eat, watch, do has an impact on the world. And we mustn't forget that acting with compassion and non-harming will also apply to ourselves. Taking care of your own heart, mind, and body is one of the ways you can show up for yourself and give yourself the energy and the mental clarity to help larger global issues. You can't help anyone if you are ill.
Some of the areas in which we can live more deeply into ahimsa are:
Check out the various sources below to learn about Social Justice & Yoga, Food Education, and Sustainable Fashion. While these are not the only areas where we can improve, they are simple changes to make with a large impact on our global life and improving your life, and will help to "Become the Change you with to see in the World." - Gandhi
Article: How Howard Thurman met Gandhi
Article: Yoga, Equality, and Social Justice by Dianne Bondy
Quiz: NY Times – How Does Your Diet Contribute to Global Warming
Read some Food Education Books by Michael Pollan
Fashion Footprint Calculator from ThredUp
Find your Local Goodwill Store
Visit an Out of the Closet Thrift Store and help fund HIV/AIDS testing & housing in your community.