Have you heard of Ahimsa?
Yoga is a breath-centred practice. It means that breath needs to be our main focus and needs to lead our practice.
But how often do we forget about breath during our yoga practice (and our life)? How often do we sacrifice our breath so we can push our body to do a pose or movement?
That’s where Ahimsa comes in. Ahimsa is the principle of non-harming and it is the essence of all yoga practice.
Buddha was adamant that we should never mistreat or abuse our bodies. That we should always treat our bodies with kindness, friendliness and respect.
And we can use our breath to help us bring the principle of Ahimsa to our practice and our daily life. Breath helps us return to our body so that we can deeply listen to it and therefore learn ways to best care for it.
This is why slowing down in our practice can bring us back to our breath…
There is so much fun doing a faster and challenging practice. I know very well the joy of moving my body and feeling strong and supple. The sense of achievement that comes with it is unmistakable.
And I also know how it feels in my body when I slow down and move my body with focus on following my breath. It becomes a meditation movement and an inner enquiry. I feel strong and present but also very connected within, very calm and at ease.
It’s all about our intention and what we want to focus on. And that choice is very personal.
Life is movement, breath is movement…
When we start bringing Ahimsa into our practice and our whole body and breath – we start living from this space of embodiment. We include our whole body in everything – all our decisions, our relationships, our wellness habits and our work.
With our practice we realise that there is even movement in stillness. And as our awareness deepens further we can also begin to see for ourselves how there is stillness in the midst of movement.
So here is a little meditation on breath and body…
Sit down comfortably.
Bring your awareness to the sensations of support underneath you.
Then bring your awareness to your breath.
Aware of an in-breath as an in-breath, I breathe in.
Aware of an out-breath as an out-breath, I breathe out.
Breathing in a long breath, I am aware of breathing in a long breath.
Breathing out a long breath, I am aware of breathing out a long breath.
Breathing in a short breath, I am aware of breathing in a short breath.
Breathing out a short breath, I am aware of breathing out a short breath.
Breathing in I am aware of my whole body.
Breathing out I am aware of my whole body.
Breathing in, I calm my whole body.
Breathing out, I calm my whole body.
So next time you start your practice…
… set your intention to practice with the principle of Ahimsa. Connect with your breath and allow it to lead you. Include your whole body in your movement and stillness.
And enjoy being alive!
with love and gratitude