The Yama's and Niyama'sare sort of like commandments that yogis follow. Instead of "do-nots" the yama's and niyama's are more of like guidelines which you should do! Without getting into too much detail about all of them, Ahimsa is the first Yama.
Ahimsa (Sanskrit: अहिंसा; IAST: ahiṃsā, Pāli: avihiṃsā) is a term meaning 'not to injure' and 'compassion'. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm.
As human beings, there are many many ways in which we can practice Ahimsa! Physical ahimsa may be more self explanatory to practice (don't go around punching people, right?!) but emotional ahimsa can be a little more complicated. Below are some ways that you can improve your inner peace and relational peace by using the concept of ahimsa from an emotional standpoint.
To ourselves: Being a positive person is probably one of the best ways to practice ahimsa towards yourself. Choosing to be happy is a great start. Our happiness and reality lies within our perspective and if you look at life with a negative lens, everything will be potentially harmful to you! Being happy and giving yourself positive and happy vibes will significantly improve how you view the world around you. We can do this by giving ourselves self-affirmations. Being more aware and in control of our negative thoughts is a great way to be uplifting and peaceful towards yourself rather than harmful. We think because we don't say these things out loud it will not be harmful, but it is so harmful to ourselves. Instead of criticizing yourself, change your inner dialogue to things like, "I believe I can do this," "I look strong and beautiful," or "I am grateful where I am" instead of "I'll never be able to do that," "My stomach is so flabby" or "Things are so irritating right now." Talking to yourself like you are your friend (not your own enemy) is so important for self esteem and self-love. The way I look at, the father you can move away from negativity, which is harmful and toxic, the more you are practicing ahimsa.
To others: Sometimes for me, I can be a jealous person. Straight up just jealous and wishing I could be more like them instead of like myself. I see another person's life and I think so myself "wow I wish I could do that...how can I do that?!," instead of being inspired, uplifted and celebrating another person's success. Practicing ahimsa means to be genuinely happy for other's success and happy moments. This might look like expressing verbally how we are proud of our friends for what they are doing, giving other people affirmations and cheering them on. Being happy for other people is one of the most rewarding things to do sometimes! Think about how great it feels when somebody affirms you! If we are not encouraging our friends and being happy for their successes in life, we are the opposite, which is being harmful! Sometimes saying no words is better than saying something that could be potentially harmful, but at the same time, (this ties back to personal ahimsa), even if you feel jealously or envy towards another person, saying "no" to your own negativity and expressing that you are proud of a friend will help you actually feel it in your heart. Everybody needs encouragement no matter what they are doing or going through in life and offering positivity instead of harmful words or attitude is a great way to practice ahimsa.
Love and Light,