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Ahimsa – Body, Mind, Soul

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Being a Holistic and Energetic Nutritionist, and a student at Agama, I’m always looking for ways to link the lessons of the Spiritual and Macrocosmic world to the Microcosmic world of nutrition and health.

The first of the Yamas, Ahimsa, is a great place to begin to examine this connection; linking an ethical code directly to our own bodies, our health, and our overall wellbeing.  When we care for ourselves, this cycles back out into the lives and wellbeing of those around us, and to the world as a whole.

Ahimsa is traditionally defined as non-violence (in thought, speech, and action) or non-harming towards yourself and others.  Another way to think about Ahimsa is, ‘acting from a place of love’.  How can we be more loving, more accepting, and more supportive in the wellbeing of ourselves and others?

In today’s blog, the question becomes, “how can we be more loving with our bodies, and ultimately our souls?”

I believe deeply in the connection between the health of our bodies and the quality of our lives.  The healthier and stronger we are, the more we have to give and the greater impact we can make in the world as a whole.  We will have more energy to pursue that which we love, we will have more energy to give to our yoga practice each day, we will inspire those around us, and we will have more love and patience to give to others.

A clear and vibrant body is a clear and vibrant mind, heart, and soul, and vice versa. By caring for our body we directly care for our mind.  When this happens, thoughts, speech, and actions naturally turn to ones that are more loving, and therefore, naturally follow Ahimsa.  And in the same way, by witnessing our mind and turning our thoughts to ones of love and non-harm, we naturally support and begin to shift the biochemistry of our physical body.

Ultimately, Ahimsa should become a natural extension of who we are and how we think, speak, and act.  The more we practice the concept of Ahimsa with ourselves, and feel it within our own body and soul, the more it radiates from us and reaches those around us.

Let’s examine a few ways Ahimsa is related to your own health and wellbeing.

THOUGHTS

Your thoughts carry energy and power and can dictate the outcome of your life.  They also carry the power to heal or to destruct.

When I was chronically ill, I became witness to how toxic my thoughts had become. Not only was my body physically ill, but by then judging myself and my body for this illness and feeling resentment towards it, I was harming myself on an entirely new level.

I see clients who allow themselves to feel guilty for weeks after eating a certain food, for not losing any weight, for gaining weight, or for not working-out more often.  But what they’ve forgotten is that the thoughts circulating in their own minds can be just as toxic (if not more toxic) than the foods they choose to eat or not eat, and the actions they choose to take or not take.  In addition, when you shift your thoughts to those of non-harm, your actions and behaviors towards your own health and wellbeing will naturally follow.

Often times, we think only about the negative when it comes to things we need to change in our lives to improve our health (for example, thinking about all of the things you need to give up or add in to your diet).  However, rather than seeing these things as negative, when you see them as positive (my energy is going to increase, I will have the mental clarity I desire, I will feel comfortable in my body, it will enhance my yoga practice) then it becomes easier and easier to make the changes in your lifestyle to help heal your body.

SPEECH

Your thoughts are powerful because they strongly dictate what you talk about.  And what you talk about, you are likely to attract and create.  Words carry strong energy with them.  If you are speaking harmful thoughts about yourself (or others), it’s more likely for these things to not only appear in your life, but to stay there and become a regular part of who you believe yourself to be.

One way to begin to shift your speech is to think about how you can come from a place of love for yourself and for others.  How do you want to feel, and what words would need to be spoken to get you to this place?  Allow yourself to start speaking words that align with that which you most want to create.  What words will allow you (and others) to feel good in your (their) body?

ACTIONS

As you’ve likely gathered, from our thoughts and our speech come our actions.  Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “what you think about, you bring about” or “thoughts become things”.  And it is through this process of thinking, speaking, and acting, that we truly create our health, and thus, our lives.

You’ll most likely notice that when you’re mindful of your thoughts, your speech will naturally begin to shift and change to match this inner dialogue, which will then be reflected in your actions.

In the nutrition and health world, your actions (and health choices) reflect your internal dialogue.  If you don’t believe you are worthy, or value yourself and your wellbeing (as can be seen in your thoughts and speech) then it is more likely that your actions will reflect this internal dialogue and belief system.

To change your eating and other health habits to match what it is you want to create (for example, a healthy, vibrant, and lively body and soul), it’s beneficial to start at the level of your thoughts and your speech.  When you come from a place of love in your thinking and speaking, this will lead to your actions coming from a place that will bring more health, love, and support to yourself and others.

PERSONAL REFLECTION

Here are a few questions to help you reflect on how you’re currently applying the essence of Ahimsa to your own life and wellbeing.  From this reflection, you can begin to shift your thoughts, words, and actions to match that which you most want to feel and create.

Throughout your day, as you see thoughts/words/actions arise around food, health, wellbeing, and body, begin to ask yourself…

“Do these thoughts, words and actions come from a place of love?  Or a place of fear?”

“How are these thoughts, words, or actions potentially harming (or supporting) myself or others?”

“How can I turn these thoughts, words, and actions into ones that come from a place of love and non-harm?”

“How can I be more loving and supportive to myself and others in this moment?”

“What is it that I’m actually needing in this moment?”

“How could my overall health and vitality be different if I were to shift my thoughts, words, and actions to flow with the concept of Ahimsa?”

When you reflect on these questions, notice how it feels in your body.  Almost immediately you should begin to feel a biochemical shift from within.  A shift from a place of stress to a place of openness, relaxation, release, and a bit more ease.  It is from this place that true healing and transformation can occur.