don’t be a loser. practice ahimsa

Tuesday. November 15, 2011
Nantucket, MA.
Challenge Day 35
Yama, yama, yama

So in last night’s class we began a discussion of the 5 principle Yamas, or moral precepts, which act to guide us on our various public and personal paths. Each one is pretty basic, and yet deserving of it’s own discussion individually. Just in case you haven’t heard of them before, (and seriously why would you unless this was already your thing) – I’ll list them here:

1. Ahimsa (अहिंसा): non-violence

2. Satya (सत्य): truth in word and thought.

3. Asteya(अस्तेय): non-stealing

4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): the practice of moderation, or control of the senses

5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रह): non-possessives, non-hoarding


The Yamas aren’t radical ideas, in fact they’re quite simplistic. (Don’t we all want to be truthful?) But in reality, the yamas can be down right challenging. Hello Sneaky White Lies! Hasn’t everyone stollen something at least once? (The first time for me was a pack of gum from the A&P when I was 5). And haven’t we all woken up hung over once or twice (or in my case, regularly on the weekends throughout my 20s).

But once we get on our yogic paths, and start to see the practice as something bigger than just the asanas, the yamas become the fabric of our lives, and bind us together with their healing support. Dude, the Yamas rock. If you haven’t checked them out, Thanksgiving, is the perfect time to get on the yamic good foot.

Last night in class we talked about Ahimsa, non-violence. Tonight we’ll explore my personal favorite, Satya. I passed out some yamawork (homework) at the end of class, and tonight I’ll do the same. If you can’t make it to class, but are interested in participating the assignment is below. I’ll be teaching a FREE, let me repeat that, FREE Thanksgiving class this Saturday at The Yoga Room from 5-6:15 give or take a few minutes…

Your Assignment, should you choose to embrace it:

Please choose one of the yamas and write a short example of how you have been able to  authentically think about and practice that yama in your personal life- either on or off the mat. In return for humoring me with this assignment, I will offer a FREE community yoga class, celebrating Thanksgiving and centered on these themes Saturday, November 19th from 5-6:15 p.m. Please bring your homework to class.

BTW, watch Loser… it’s a powerful reminder of why we should all practice Ahimsa, and make sure we teach our children to too.

If you can’t join us for class on Saturday, you might consider reading this to get you in the Holiday mood.  I found it on Elephant Journal this morning, I’ll probably read from it in class.


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