Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ahimsa, What is That????

I was teaching a yoga principle to my class the other night that I have been teaching for quite some time. It was one of the yamas, which consists of "your attitudes toward others outside of yourself or universal laws". The principle I taught within the yamas was call ahimsa, which means in sanskrit, non-harming, non-violent. Ahimsa includes living life peacefully without fear. It isn't just about your treatment of others, you would be practicing ahimsa when doing yoga postures in a way that did not cause injury or harm to yourself. Okay so there you have a little background. However, when teaching a yama I use an example they can relate to and tell you the truth, in terms I can relate to as well. You won't believe what came to my mind, a fear I have myself. So I used it. This is how it went:

"How many of you feel fear when driving with another at the wheel that you feel is unsafe?"
(there was a show of about 10 hands in a class of 60)
"How many of you feel that the driver gets very defensive with you when you express your fear to them?" (same)
"Wouldn't it be better if that driver would say "Oh, I apologize, I really want you to feel safe in my car, so would you like me to slow down?" instead of getting angry or defensive with you?
Because the reality, that fear is real to that person at the time, and by being more compassionate and understanding that passenger will settle down and feel cared for and will begin to trust again. You see it isn't about the driver (well, maybe sometimes it is their driving habits), but it's about that passenger's not feeling safe.

The class was quieter than I have heard it in a long time!!! I truly feel they were thinking about becoming more non-harming in small every day terms!!!!

So now, everyone, now that you know one of my fears, I'll expect you to be much more kind and understanding and compassionate, then I feel good driving with you!!


Lara said...

I knew what you were going to say before I read it. I think that is your biggest fear...which is why I just usually have you drive, even in my car.

But you already knew that.

Hilary said...

Seriously, riding in a car with someone is your biggest fear?
You should come hang out at the hospital. :)