Ahimsa Awareness

In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease. (Sutra 2.35)
What do you tell yourself while you practice? Would you be embarrassed if your thoughts were suddenly to be piped through speakers to the rest of the class? Would the thoughts about yourself and your own practice be worse than anything you might think about the stinky feet or questionable sartorial choices on the mats near you? Mine would. I am so much more understanding about my neighbor’s stinky feet than I am about my own chipped toe nail polish. General yoga teacher wisdom tells us that how we are on our mat is how we are in the world. Sometimes this is good to know; paying attention to our tendencies on the mat can lead to those light-bulb, “A-ha” moments about our choices off the mat. But at other times the self-knowledge gained on the mat is truly cringe-worthy. Do I really walk around with this many negative thoughts aimed at myself?

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