The Yoga of Weaponry: Where to Aim Your Ahimsa

Ahimsa is the art of non-violence, but unless used both internally and externally, you could be doing yourself harm. Consider wielding your weapons outside, but practicing non-violence to your self.

I’ve always been comfortable around weapons and the idea of putting up a hell of a fight when someone or something imposes their beliefs on my livelihood or family. The truth is, I was born a fighter, always have been one and always will be. I do not give up easily. I persevere and endure when most submit. This personality can be a double-edged sword as what can lead me out of harm’s way can also create great internal harm. Where does a fighter or modern day woman warrior belong in today’s world? Especially when this feeling is also coupled with my title, Guardian Keeper of Forrest Yoga?

In a culture laden with philosophies and concepts around elevating consciousness, skills of self-protection and combat become a paradox. Ahimsa is the art of non-violence or avoiding violence with great measure. It is a fundamental concept revered and practiced in yogic cultures. This limb of yoga is important, but when taken and applied with half-meaning can retard a practitioner from shielding or protecting self and family from certain realities.

Life is not all rainbows and unicorns. Avoiding the realities of stressors, even just human interactions and basic conflicts can bring about many problems. One main problem is giving up the need to fight for personal rights, liberties, and freedoms. Whether in a relationship, career, hobby, or mission maintaining a connection with one’s spirit is important for survival. Realistically, there are many reasons people need to keep the fight.

enso, full circle, zen, zen buddhismI recently came full circle with this topic. Much like the enso, I’ve returned to where I started, having learned a great deal about life while suppressing the fighter within. Ahimsa speaks congruently to my soul with regards to global conflict, though until recently had no merit for personal internal conflict. Doing no harm is not only an external practice. It also is mandatory for the internal.

Who do we become if we preach about non-violence yet beat up and abuse ourselves internally? We may not physically or mentally abuse another human being, carry a weapon, or even speak poorly about another soul, but to lash out and abuse our self makes us hypocrites. We become the “do as I say and not as I do” types.

I say, flip it. Keep the fight for liberties and toss out the self-abuse. Test your ability to walk the ahimsa talk in the yoga room. Notice how you are being in every pose.

  • Do you speak levels of frustration about your body’s limitations or are you compassionate and caring to yourself the way you might be to one of your peers?
  • Is power something you can modulate or do you run high-frequency all the time?
  • Do you grind or crank your body in and out of the poses with ballistic force or can you move with ease and gentleness?

There is a time and place for power and strength, just as there is a place for compassion and gentleness. When limitations in beliefs become present, ease around your yoga poses and use your mental judo to revamp your own relationship. Reserve the fighter inside for doing battle against self-harm.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock and Willow Ryan.