Ahisma - First Moral Restraint of the Yamas

June 19, 2015


Recall the First Limb of Yoga is the Yamas.  Ahisma is the first of five moral restraints of the Yamas

Within our culture, we are not witnessing much moral restraint, so I thought it would be wise to spend a little time on the subject.

Non-violence is what ahimsa means.  It is about restraining from acting in a harmful way.  Yogis around the world are to demonstrate this principle by engaging in practices of how we speak to others, how we treat animals and all of God’s creation.  I find that this brings me back to the roots of the tree.  Remember the tree has to get its life from the root system.  Can your tree (life) stand strong when it goes through storms?


I found the following prayer to be invaluable with ahimsa.


The Peace Prayer of St. Francis

by an anonymous Norman c. 1915 A.D. Peace Prayer

Lord make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred,

Let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is error, truth;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, Joy.


O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled

As to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Questions to meditate on:

  • What are my roots grounded in for power and strength? 
  • When you find yourself confronted by violence or fear, what do you do? 
  • In your daily life, can you be present enough to end any cycle of violence you may encounter?
  • How can you demonstrate ahimsa on your mat?


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Develop your strength and power of concentration to create stability and enjoy the serenity that balancing poses offer you.