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अहिंसा Ahimsaa

Posted by Julie Andres on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 Under: ahimsaa
In my first week of classes in the Yoga Teacher Training program at Langara College we discussed the concept and practice of ahimsaa - Sanskrit for harmlessness or non-violence.
During our exchange we quickly realized that the first course of harm we take is usually toward ourselves. And when we harm ourselves we harm others as well, and the entire world around us.
One of the ways that we do this most commonly is by comparing ourselves to depictions of what advertisers tell us is ideal beauty - both feminine and masculine. Unable to attain anything close to the perceived perfection of magazine and television models, we criticize ourselves constantly for being normal.
But think about it - do the gaunt, bone-racks in Calvin Klein ads make us smile, or feel anything resembling happiness? For myself, I often sense self-reproach, even though I know that it is clever brainwashing that brings these feelings about.
Here is an example of genuine beauty: Just minutes ago I saw a photograph of a friend's new baby, his rubbery face contorted by the exuberant kiss of his grandmother, who had just arrived from Brazil to see him for the first time. Her face is wrinkled and sun-parched, her arms ample and soft. The picture made me laugh out loud and feel so good. How lovely that the beauty there isn't posed, molded or manipulated in a computer after the fact.
My practice of ahimsaa begins, then, by being mindful of my thoughts - toward myself and toward others. Self-annihilation, self-aggrandisation - both forms of inner monologue are insidious and destructive. Notice, release, forgive, open.
Breathe. And repeat.

In : ahimsaa 

Tags: ahimsaa  yoga  meditation  beauty 

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