I’ll be honest. When I wrote my last post and ended with the intention to reflect on Ahimsa I didn’t believe myself. I really questioned if I should be making such promises to myself and my readers.
I left for Vancouver exhausted, confused and rattled by the schedule that seemed to be burying me alive. I had no time to think about how I could yoga my way into a non violent life.
But something happened. When I boarded the plane I was free. I was free from what I thought were the bounds of many different responsibilities pulling at me in all directions. For the first time in awhile I could just be without any expectation.
While in Stanley Park taking in the beauty of the Red Cedars and mossy forest floor I came to a realization with the help of the book by Michael Stone: “ The Inner Tradition of Yoga”. If I walk with intention and softness through life I have no reason for fear. If I come from a place of compassion then others will react compassionately. And if they don’t, it’s much easier from this view of Ahimsa to see why. If I set myself in non violence then when others are violent toward me I know it comes from old conditioning.
Continuing on my Vancouver getaway I slowly shed old fearful reactive bad habits. Through practice at One Yoga , reflective meditation and yoga at The Salt Spring Centre , I found the more gentle I was with myself the more gentle I could be with others.
The Salt Spring Centre of Yoga was an intentional community housing a few staff welcoming people like myself and my dear friend Tasha for retreats. The land was developed by The Dharma Sara Satsang Society inspired by Baba Hari Das (Everyone referred to him as BabaJi) to support yoga practice. There is no alcohol or meat they ask for lights out at 9pm and to avoid swearing. As I fed myself the good food, laid in the sauna, looked up at the stars and listened to the frogs croak I let go of excitable and stressed energy. I was able to meet others with this intuitively grounded mentality.
This quote I found on aryuvedayogapractice.com says it all:
“Negative thoughts give rise to violence…they are caused by greed, anger or delusion…Through introspection comes the end of pain and ignorance.”
– Yoga Sutras II.34
As the “stress” of my life back home subsided I was able to work fluidly through Asanas and bring that fluidity to my life. From this balanced state I could recognize the generosity of others and truly selflessly give back. Returning home I realized the stress I felt was caused more from delusion than actual events. Surrounded by friends and family while working on what I love is a dream come true and approaching it with this new practice of Ahimsa has helped me realize that.
So, yoga friends, take care of yourselves. Nourish yourselves, take comfort in the silence rest and peacefulness of retreat. Ahimsa, for me, started from within.
Interested in retreats offered by Shanti? Click this link to learn about the Costa Rica Retreat in April and the Windhorse Farm Retreat in June