Ahimsa: the most important element in yoga

Let’s let the Martin Luther King holiday continue. Freedom, and Moksha, were the themes of our weekend in New York, and not Tim Miller this week has also focused on MLK, Gandhi and … ahimsa:

Listing ahimsa first indicates that it is the most important of all the yamas. The yamas are also the first limb of ashtanga yoga, suggesting that of all of the eight limbs, it is the most important. Since it is the first principle mentioned in the first limb of yoga, one could reasonably say that ahimsa is the single most important practice in yoga.


I like Patanjali’s approach. Rather than saying “Thou Shall Not” and giving us a list of rules that, if broken, will result in your eternal damnation in the fires of Hell, Patanjali says, “Hey check it out. You want to live a life of love, truth, prosperity, vitality, and clarity of purpose? This is what you need to do.” We are presented with choices, and to some extent at least, we are in control of our own destiny.

As Bobbie pointed out in her initial thoughts on our weekend in New York, we practice in order to be able to make the best choices and, perhaps, have the most control over our destiny.

Speaking of New York, I simply can’t help but link to this piece at the Daily Caller, a very conservative online publication. It’s about the New York City naked yoga studio that now will be holding coed classes:

Only in New York City, a modern-day Sodom or Gomorrah, can you take totally naked, coed yoga classes.

Bold & Naked is a new yoga studio in Chelsea that offers completely nude yoga classes that are either all male, all female or male and female, Outside magazine reports. The studio also offers some clothed classes.

Imagine doing happy baby pose. Completely. Naked. (Hopefully you’re not eating lunch right now.)

I love that New York is either Sodom or Gomorrah, not both. I also bet it isn’t the only pace you can get naked, coed yoga classes.

This really doesn’t follow all that well from Tim’s nice post, but I link to this because I need the laugh; we’ll probably be able to post about what’s got me down in the coming days.

Finally, one more from New York, in the form of Guy Donahaye’s latest post, which is more in line with what Tim’s writing about.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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