Tag Archives: ahimsa

A Perfectly Imperfect Yogi

My first ever yoga class was my freshman year in college, a hard-to-believe 14 years ago. My dedication to the practice has ebbed and flowed but I’ve always really enjoyed it and have felt the benefits both internally and externally.

I’ve gone to countless studios, been on 2 yoga retreats (with the 3rd taking place over Labor Day weekend, and hopefully a 4th in December), and completed yoga teacher training. Despite all of the hours I’ve spent in downward facing dog, I am an imperfect yogi.

I can’t turn my mind off during meditation.

My feet go numb if I sit for too long.

My hips are as stiff as the tin man. 

I can’t turn my neck in the opposite direction as my legs while lying down.

I can’t look up during triangle for more than 30 seconds.

I can’t stay longer than a second in crow. 

My headstand and handstand leave something to be desired. 

Yet…

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Ahimsa

The word ahimsa in its simplest terms means nonviolence in Sanskrit. When I was going through yoga teacher training in 2012, I fell in love with the description of ahimsa in Patanjali’s sutras, or threads of teaching. Patanjali is one of the granddaddies of yoga and he wrote many of the basics of yoga at least 1,700 years ago.

Many times, yogis are asked to have a mantra – something to repeat during times of indecision, relaxation, or meditation. It’s a word or phrase that resonates with you and is meant to be calming and helpful. Ahimsa is that word for me. When I read the explanation the first time, I was hooked. Here’s a piece of the definition I liked most:

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