Ahimsa (non-violence) is one of the most known Yamas. It became famous because of icones of non-violence, like the indian pacifist Mahatma Gandhi.
People who adopt a vegan life style also promote Ahimsa (non-violence). Vegan don’t consume any product that come from an animal, and support equanimity between human beings and all the other beings.
To practice Ahimsa, you must abstain from violent thoughts, emotions and deeds, both related to yourself and to others.
Among the benefits of this practice, are a guilty-free consciounsness, a considerable increase on the self-steem and confidence in yourself, the others and life.
Ahimsa was perhaps the first Yama I’ve practiced, because a few days after reading an article about it I became vegetarian, and two months after that, vegan.
Self-forgiveness and self-compassiona are also ahimsa practice. For that, there are many meditations that help us to love ourselves more in a deep, honest way, and many asanas are ideals to help us in the practice of self-acceptation, like Pachmutanasana and many foward bends (bend the body to the front, hugging it).
All the asanas and other exercises that help us to open the chest and the heart chakra help us at the ahimsa practice (non-violence).
What you can do to practice Ahimsa:
Keep a journal (daily) or blog in which you can share your thoughts, impressions and insights throughout your practice. Expressing yourself helps the self-knowledge (Svadhyaya) and share your ideas with other people help us to open the heart to give and receive (thoughts, emotions, insights).
Meditate about the heart chakra.
Sing mantras. Ideals are the mantras “Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” (Om, Peace, Peace, Peace) and the Gayatri Mantra.
If becoming vegetarian and/or vegan are not in your plans at the moment, what about to choose a healthy diet, loving and honoring your own body?
Dedicate your daily practice to the happinness and peace of all beings.
Forgive yourself and be compassive with yourself. Be compassive and lovingful when addressing your own mistakes.
Do things you like.
Dedicate some time only to yourself and do what makes you happy.
- And always worth to remind it: defend yourself. Practicing Ahimsa and not harming others doesn’t mean at all to accept violence from others. Protect and defend yourself when necessary. You’ll know how.
Ps: Those texts are only my personal experience and are no “professional” or “spiritual” source of information about the Yamas. It’s just a sharing of thoughts from a student (me).