Ahimsa

One of the tenets of yoga is ahimsa which translates as “do no harm”.  This simple statement can be looked at from many angles, from doing no harm to animals by being vegan, or by keeping the peace by not honking at slow moving traffic. I aspire to do no harm in many many ways but an important and foundational way in which I do no harm is through nurturing, rather than abusive, movement. My message for 20 years has been DO NO HARM TO YOURSELF DURING YOUR WORKOUT. That means in duration, intensity and form, your workout should feel good and inspire.
When I was a freshman in college, one my dorm mates was on the ROTC – an army group that met up for a boot camp at 5:30am everyday. I was already teaching aerobics classes and was very enthusiastic about all things fitness, so I joined the group one morning.  What I experienced was agony. We raced up and down stadium steps, did push-ups with a weighted plate on our backs. We were screamed at to go faster as we kangaroo jumped across the floor. I left that workout feeling physically wiped out and emotionally drained. The worst part was my spirit was deflated. I wasn’t actually injured, but that workout did so much damage…to me. You see, ahimsa is personal. There were some people in that ROTC workout that loved it and were empowered by it. So only you can decide what ahimsa means. Actually, only you can feel what ahimsa is. Just be sure to abide by it!