Ahimsa: Nonviolence Starts at Home

Ahimsa yoga is the first of the yamas, and it means “nonviolence.”  If you look deeper than simply an absence of fisticuffs in your life, it won’t take long to find all sorts of ways we are less than kind to ourselves, perhaps more often than to others.  The antidote to this very human tendency is compassion.

You might find it very uncomfortable at first to offer yourself compassion.  We often put up resistance to this kind of self-care by calling it “selfish” or “self-absorbed.” These are really just extensions of the original unkindness to which we subject ourselves on a daily, semi-conscious basis.

Use this ahimsa yoga class to observe where your limits are in these yoga poses. Without predetermining where you think they ought to be, were yesterday or would like them to be, simply explore. Then back away a little, breathe and see what opens up for you.

You may want to practice this ahimsa yoga class by offering yourself compassion and goodwill by reciting these simple phrases: “May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be safe. May I be free.”

May you be happy, healthy, safe and free.

Ahimsa Yoga Class

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat, Yoga Towel or Blanket, Yoga Block

It is recommended to perform the warm-up before starting this Ahimsa yoga class.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 1: Vinyasa Sequence
Duration: 2-12 times
Sequence Review: Vinyasa Sequence

Start this Ahimsa yoga class by performing the vinyasa sequence.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 2: Awkward Chair yoga pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: Awkward Chair yoga pose

From Raised Hands yoga pose, lower your hips while bending your knees. Release any gripping in your feet and lift your heart. Find how low you can go while maintaining strong alignment, back off a little and enjoy your yoga pose.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 3: Camel yoga pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: Camel yoga pose

Come down to your knees with your hips above your knees and your toes behind. Pressing your hips forward, lift your sternum as you reach back for your heels. Do this slowly and feel your belly stretching, chest expanding and breathe deeply.  If this yoga pose is challenging your edge, do this again instead of Little Thunderbolt Pose.

Rest in between in Child’s Pose until the breath becomes settled.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 4: Little Thunderbolt yoga pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: Little Thunderbolt yoga pose

Hips above knees, toes behind, press your hips forward with your hands on your thighs. Begin to reach your head back and down to the ground, still pressing your legs forward and lifting through your pelvic floor. Observe your edge and go only as far as you stay connected to your steady, calm breath.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 5: One-Legged King Pigeon yoga pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: One-Legged King Pigeon yoga pose

From Child’s Pose, slide your left leg back behind as you bring your right shin parallel to the short end of the mat. Keep your hips level. Stop just inside your edge, where you can breathe fully and steadily and observe your body and mind’s reactions to the yoga pose.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 6: Repeat on the other side.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 7: Monkey yoga pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: Monkey yoga pose

From a Low Lunge yoga pose with the back knee on the ground, extend your forward leg while drawing your toes back towards your torso. Observe the stretch in the back of your leg. Slowly lower your hips as you slide your front heel forward and extend your back leg. When you get to the farthest point that allows you stay aligned and breath steadily, back off just a bit and observe what it’s like to be here.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 8: Repeat on the other side.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 9: Head to Knee yoga pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: Head to Knee yoga pose

From Staff yoga pose, bring the sole of your right foot high onto your left thigh, as close to your body as possible. Pressing your fingertips into the ground beside your hips, lengthen your spine. Reach your heart forward over your extended leg, finally releasing and reaching your arms forward, perhaps even around the sole of your left foot. Do not pull, simply observe the sensations of being in this yoga pose right now.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 10: Repeat on other side.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 11: Shoulder Stand
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: Shoulder Stand

From a supine position, press your elbows into the ground, draw your knees in and extend your legs up and overhead. Bring your hands to your low back and support it until your breath stabilizes. Reaching up through your toes, slowly bring your hips over your shoulders until your shoulders, hips and toes are in a line perpendicular to the ground. Breathe with your chest, keeping your core muscles fully engaged.


Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 12: Plow yoga pose
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: Plow yoga pose

Lower your feet behind your head without lowering your hips toward your chest. Maintain long side bodies. Reach your hands behind you and bring your hand together with straight arms.
    
Ahimsa Yoga Class Step 13: Fish yoga pose
Duration 5 breaths
Ahimsa Yoga Class Yoga Pose Review: Fish yoga pose

Unfurl through your core until your hips are on the ground. Bend your knees and bring your toes to the ground. Pressing your elbows into the ground, lift your heart up until you are balanced on your sitting bones and sacrum and reach the top of your head back to the ground. Reach your arms up.


Perform the relaxation sequence to complete this Ahimsa yoga class.


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