Whenever I lack inspiration, I go to the sutras. And if I get bogged down in the sutras, I go to the yamas. Specifically, nonviolence, which is the first yama. I’ve told my students more than once (okay, probably a hundred times) that I’ll be working on the first yama for at least this lifetime.
Seemingly straightforward, nonviolence is more than refraining from physical violence. It also encompasses our words and thoughts. Nonviolence in our practice means respecting our limits while still challenging ourselves. I’ve heard it said that the other four yamas (truth, nonstealing, chastity, and nongreed) are all refinements of nonviolence. So, the next time you get on your mat think about how you can create more kindness and less violence in that moment. It’s a good place to start.