Be the Change You Wish To See
In yogic philosophy, as told in the Yoga Sutras, there is an eight-fold path to enlightenment. The first limb of the path of yoga is known as the 5 yamas or moral "restraints". Ahimsa, which means "non-harming" or "non-violence", is the first ethical discipline and the foundation of the other four principles - truthfulness, non-stealing, non-excess and non-possessiveness.
It's easy to see and understand how violence affects the world around us. We all have heard, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Treat others as you would want to be treated. But ahimsa tells us that the way we treat ourselves is a direct correlation on how we treat others. When we feel afraid, out of balance, powerless, self-critical, over scheduled and burnt out, it's easy to take it out on others. We must first find peace within ourselves, before we can find peace around us.
Making time on our mat cultivates inner strength. We begin to explore the place beyond our comfort zone. The place where we can take action, change and transform. We start to appreciate all that our body can do. We find self-compassion, accepting we are a work in progress. We make a commitment to self-care and ultimately connect to our own self-love. Our breath becomes a tool to find the power of pause, the place of thoughtful response, rather than triggered reaction. In the words of Gandhi, we become the change we wish to see.
Whether you practice at home or in a class, it's important to be consistent and show up on your mat. Yoga reminds us that we are all connected. When must honor ourselves and each other. The practice is a pathway to healing.