The first Yama, Ahimsa, means non-violence. This is the first and foundational principle. Violence towards self or others makes a journey into the yogic lifestyle impossible. Non-violence towards yourself means forgiveness, understanding and love towards yourself. Towards others, ahimsa shows up as compassion, forgiveness, understanding and the task of not perpetuating more violence or harm. Do no harm extends to nature and all of mother earth, since we are nature and nature is part of us.
It is easy to love a cute animal, baby or even people who love us back. How about animals we are scared of? How about people who disagree with us, our ex’s, or the guy who cut us off on the way to work?
And the big one, ourselves? Do we love ourselves? Do we say kind things to ourselves in our head? This can often be the greatest task. Often we treat ourselves much worse than anyone else and we would never say things to another person that we say in our heads.
Challenge: Monitor what you say to yourself. What are your thoughts like? Don’t worry about changing them, but start paying attention.