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TT23: Ahimsa: How to Practice Non-Harming While Practicing And Teaching Yoga

8 limbs of yoga yoga teacher training The Quietmind Yoga Membership is now open! Weekly live classes and weekly mini workshops to develop deliberate skills in your practice such as nervous system regulation, strengthening Agni. Over the next few weeks I’ll be adding bonus classes with practices to embody the 8 limbs of yoga as we learn more in this series.

Today continues our series on applying the 8 limbs of yoga to teaching yoga. Each week I will cover a new aspect of the 8 limbs. This week I’ll share how you can apply the first Yama: Ahimsa to teaching.

It may seem obvious that you are not harming your students in class, but there is an unavoidable power dynamic at play in yoga classes that has been a source of harm to countless students who have shared their stories in recent years. I will share ways I have found to both hold the seat of the teacher, while guiding students back to their inner authority.

The points I will discuss are: 

Notice judgements and comparisons in your practice When negative thoughts arise, cultivate the opposite Rather than assume authority over students, direct them towards their inner authority Use invitational cues rather than authoritative cues — while still using active cues rather than passive cues

"Non-killing being established, in his presence all emnities cease (in others).
If a man gets the idea of non-injuring others, before him even animals which are by their nature ferocious will become peaceful. The tiger and the lamb will play together before that Yogi and will not hurt each other. When you have come to that state, then alone you will understand that you have become firmly established in non-injuring" - Vivekananda

“Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injury. It is positive, cosmic love. It is the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love. Ahimsa is true sacrifice. Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is Sakti (power). Ahimsa is true strength.” - Sivananda

“Ahimsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence.” - Mahatma Gandhi

“Strictly speaking, no activity and no industry is possible without a certain amount of violence, no matter how little. Even the very process of living is impossible without a certain amount of violence. What we have to do is to minimize it to the greatest extent possible.” - Mahatma Gandhi

“The power of unarmed nonviolence is any day far superior to that of armed force.” - Mahatma Gandhi

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” - Thomas A. Edison

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