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Ahimsa & How To Let Go of Negative Self-Talk

November 10, 2017 Joyoga / in Yoga Blogby

Last week’s classes where themed around Ahimsa, the first of the Yamas and the overarching ‘law’ in yoga philosophy.

What does Ahimsa mean and how does it show in our day-to-day life?

Ahimsa suggests the practice of non-violence or non-harming behaviour including physical, mental and emotional violence towards others and the self.

You may think now: “Well, I’m not violent. This has nothing to do with me.”

Right. If you’re reading this post, chances are you are not walking around physically beating other people up. I’m very glad you don’t. I don’t either, in case you were wondering.

However, there is another concept of violence you may not have considered yet: Negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk is one of the most humiliating and violent experiences we can have as human beings. From my own experience and from talking to others, I know how cruel it is and how we’re all affected at times.

Our mind (the ego) has the capacity to tell us we’re bad, not getting it right, not good enough or even worthless.

For some, these thoughts or inner voices begin the moment we wake up in the morning and only cease the moment we go to sleep or move into one of many distractive patterns (material obsessions, new partner, new job, substance abuse and so on).

No one on this earth deserves to be spoken to like that. Ever. Would you ever speak to your best friend in the way your mind does speak to you at times? Of course not.

So, it is our responsibility to step back, stop the process and redirect the thoughts. Just as you would comfort a friend, it then becomes your responsibility to comfort the Self. The opposite of Ahimsa is (self-) love.

But what if I find myself having a day full of negative self-talk and I simply can’t seem to stop it?

Well, a day and an experience like that is a gift. Just imagine the amount of serenity, patience and strength you’re building up during this time to put up with shit like that.

This will serve you well further down the road and in many other life situations.

It is easy to love ourselves and everyone else around us when the sun is shining, we had a good breakfast and all is right in our world.

But on a day like this, where the sun is hidden under dark clouds and where there was no breakfast whatsoever, the real practice begins.

So, what do I do on a day like this?

Choose love. Love always wins and is the only way to drive change or anything really. And if you feel there is no way to find love, choose it anyway.

Become aware of negative thoughts and meet them with self-love. Notice the voices, listen to what they have to say and release them in gratitude.

Turn “I am not good enough” into “I’ve done ____ [fill in the blank] well this week”.

Turn “I am unable of ____” into “Instead, I am able of _____ ”.

Turn “I am useless and have nothing” into “I am grateful for ____ in my life”.

It may not seem easy or even ridiculous at first, but it’s possible. Remember, no one on this earth deserves to be spoken to like our mind does to us at times.

I took this picture during a beach walk on the morning of 4 November 2017 – the day of the Full Moon in Taurus. During moments like this, the little things put my bigger picture back into place and bring meaning into all I do and believe in.

As always, I hope it goes well for you this week. Please get in touch if you have any questions.

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