The practice of Yoga is geared towards the calming of the soul, refreshment of the mind, and relaxation of the physical body. In the context of religion, Yogins are adhering to a creed that is called Ahimsa. What is this creed and could it be more than just a religious practice?
How Ahimsa becomes more than just a Religious Tenet
Time to turn our time backward are we get our way back to ancient days where everything about society is just about to start. Don’t worry, we’re making sure that this won’t be boring.
If you like learning new things about different cultures or if you’re just fond of trivia and you want to share it, you’ll surely enjoy this.
Whilst the texts of Hatha Yoga appears to have emerged around the 9th to 11th century, archeological pieces of evidence show that the practice of Yoga was already present in the pre-Vedic Indian society dating back around 3000 BCE.
Around this time, the ancient Indian society has been thriving alongside the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations where religion is starting to be formed. Thinking about how early humans have been living before, there’s nothing much to do aside from hunting, gathering, surviving, and exploring the vast world.
This can give us the idea the early humans have this amazement on nature so do the people of the Indus Valley civilization. And with the humans being inertly longing for a divine being, they are trying to find a way on how to connect to these being who they consider being gods.
The idea that the gods could be in any form of nature made the Indus Valley civilization come up with the religious practice of Hindu which as we all know consists of many gods.
Okay, yes, religion and culture, and so, how does this relate to Yoga? The practice of Yoga is born out of the human desire to be one, to yoke with, or to be in union with the divine being through meditation and mimicry of nature. That’s the reason why most asanas attempt to portray animals, plants, or anything natural.
Ahimsa in Yoga: Its History
As society develops, writing began to exist and language is starting to flourish. Historical records are now being written and so the tenets of the religious practice. This also comes along with the think tank from the ancient which were acknowledged today as Philosopists.
The Bhramic religion of Hinduism was one of the first polytheistic religions born in the Indian subcontinent and scriptures are called vedas which is a Sanskrit word of “knowledge”.
These Vedic texts were either written hymns, epics, or a codex that the people of those days have to adhere to.
According to studies, the oldest Vedic scripture yet found made mention of Ahimsa whilst it was not heavily emphasized, this tells us that the concept of Ahimsa has been practiced since ancient times.
On one of the most known Indian epics called Mahabharata, the Sanskrit phrase “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma” has been mentioned a couple of times and this passage means Non-Violence is the highest moral virtue.
This tenet of Ahimsa is amazingly agreeable and with deeper understanding, we can say that this actually has an impact on one’s health.
The Beauty of Ahimsa
Let’s jump back to today’s era. People nowadays are dealing with several stressors that sometimes trigger anger and violence. According to the studies of the World Health Organization, violence is one of the major causes of death around the world.
Also, if we focus on stress alone, there are lots of negative effects that chronic stress is giving which also leads to human mortality.
It is evident that people who are very stressed tend to become more violent or if not, develop a violent attitude over time as stress indwells a person. This is where the beauty of Ahimsa shines through.
With the virtue of Ahimsa aims toward non-violence, this tenet the yogins must understand help them develop a more positive attitude as they practice yoga asanas as they’re meditating. So, how does Ahimsa impact a person’s well-being?
Physical and Mental Impact of Ahimsa
Understanding that stress has negative impacts on a person’s life, we would surely understand that meditation in Yoga has Physical and Mental health benefits.
First, yoga asanas help stimulate the body’s nerves. promote better blood flow, and helps the body release hormones that counterbalance stress. Meditation that is being coupled with the exercise helps the mind be refreshed. Doing yoga over a longer period of time helps a person have a better mental condition.
Second, with a less stressed condition, a person’s aging process is also slowed lowering the chance of developing different kinds of ailments that range from simple back pains and headaches to more serious diseases like tumors, cancers, and mental health illness that develops over time.
I know you would agree that a person with better blood circulation tends to have a better mood and thus, has better productivity. As we can see, not only the person who practices yoga that benefits the virtue of Ahimsa, but also the community around him.
Ahimsa and the Society
Although sadly undeniable that people nowadays become more and more violent, coupled with the ease of acquiring deadly weapons, violence across the globe is rising and has a negative impact on the living conditions and affects the perspective in the life of people who are directly and indirectly affected.
The virtue of Ahimsa that yogins are promoting as well could lead to a better society considering that if many people promote and adhere to non-violence, surely there will be fewer killings, abuse, and assault happening around since people are in a better state of mind.
Take the Good
You could be a devout of the religion you are in but it will never be wrong to take the good aspects that another religion is sharing.
The practice of Modern Yoga does not require anyone to switch religion nor the acceptance of the virtue of Ahimsa does make you a less religious person.
Promoting non-violence in a world full of stress has great positive effects on your physical and mental well-being as well as on the community that you belong.