Ahimsa isn’t simply the practice of refraining from violent words or actions, it’s also about abstaining from violent thoughts. It is is the total and complete absence of violence from one’s mind, body, and spirit. It’s not only about evading harmful deeds, but about lacking the capacity to engage in harmful thoughts towards others and especially one's self.
It is also very much about being balanced. Practicing too much or working one side more than the other is a form of violence on the body. As is sleeping late, eating unhealthy, over-filling one's schedule, and having poor boundaries with others etc...We want you to look at it from these depths.
Additionally, abstaining from violent and harmful actions is easy when you’re comfortable and secure, but abstaining from harmful thought patterns presents a mountain that every single one of us is equipped to climb, yet few of us have the courage and confidence to do so.
With Gandhi, the notion of nonviolence attained a special status. He not only theorized on it, he adopted nonviolence as a philosophy and an ideal way of life. He made us understand that the philosophy of nonviolence is not a weapon of the weak; it is a weapon, which can be tried by all. Ghandi achieved everything he did by observing this ONE principle diligently and with absolute determination.
Let's give it a go this month and see what happens!
“The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings… As the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become.” - The Buddah
Time for that 'new year new you' business, but we at Sukoun know that your life is continuously evolving and unfolding - though we do not need a new year to make it happen!
We have been reading and re-reading one of our favorite and most prized books this month, 'The Yamas and Niyamas' by Deborah Adele.
What are the Yamas and Niyamas you ask?The yamas and niyamas are yoga’s ethical guidelines laid out in the first two limbs of Patanjali’s eightfold path. They’re like a map written to guide you on your life’s journey. Simply put, the yamas are things not to do, or restraints, while the niyamas are things to do, or observances. Together, they form a moral code of conduct.
The five yamas, self-regulating behaviors involving our interactions with other people and the world at large, include:
We thought it would be a great idea to expand our practice off our mats and try hold steadfast and observe to each yama and niyama for a month - carefully studying and applying each in our daily lives. The idea is if one tries to uphold one, the others will naturally follow.
To stay motivated, we decided to hold the intention collectively with our amazing students and teachers.
We hope you have an amazing and enriching experience at Sukoun in 2016 filled with growth, light and love!
The Sukoun Family