Raquel Salvador. Our Tribe teacher on the TTC in Bali.
Have you ever reached a yoga plateau? Don’t know what to do to advance and evolve further?
Do you feel like you are maybe just scratching the surface of what yoga can really offer you?
Do you want to explore traditional teachings that create profound change and transformations in your life?
Are Yama & Niyama the guiding forces of your practice and daily living?
Do you love the Yamas & Niyamas?
Explore how to enrich your practice on and off the mat with our special SANSKRIT SADHANA SERIES.
Let’s start with Ahimsa
Yoga Sutras – 11.35
ahimsa-pratisthayam tat-sannidhau vaira-tyagah
Ahimsa; non-violence, harmlessness, non-injury,
Pratisthayam; standing firmly, firmly established,
Sannidhau; presence, vicinity,
Vaira; animosity, hostility,
Tyagah; forsaking, abandoning, deserting
When non-violence in speech, thought & action is established, ones aggressive nature is relinquished and others abandon hostility in one’s presence – BKS Iyengar
In the presence of one who is established in nonviolence, enmity is abandoned – Edwin f. Bryant
That presence creates an atmosphere in which hostility ceases, both within and without – Mukunda Stiles
Sensitivity generates love – Godfrey Devereux
Ahimsa rests in our ability to expand our awareness and sensitivity so we are present to that which is actually happening in the here and now. Expressing Ahimsa, unswayed by knowledge, feelings, emotions, memories or experiences of the past we relinquish all prejudice, judgement and predetermined ideas. Then from a place of connectivity, we naturally respond out of love instead of reacting out of a sense of separateness.
By becoming more sensitive and cultivating awareness we are gifted with deep insight. Cause and potential effects – damage, distress, harm etc. become perceptively tangible and evoke an empathetic response. Interconnectivity deepens and potential outcomes related to subject or object are felt by the one who is aware. Rather than reacting from a place of fear, aggression, separateness our awareness guides us to respond with compassion, understanding and love.
In that transformative light of awareness, choices are spontaneously made which naturally diffuse possibilities of pain and suffering and induce an outpouring of love.
When met with challenges, confrontation, aggression or disharmony if we can continually make the effort to take a metaphorical step back, to breath and create space within our body-mind we can respond rather than react. Step by step as the veil of separation diminishes the heart becomes our ultimate guide, kindness and compassion flower and we naturally emanate Ahimsa and its deepest expression – LOVE
AHIMSA – Sanskrit Sadhana
For Sanskrit Sadhana we turn to the practice of Tapas. Undertaking Tapas enables us to fire up our will, passion and enthusiasm. In Tapas we make choices and set ourselves challenges that lead us to greater nourishment, wellbeing, expansion and growth.
STEP 1. Reflection & Contemplation
Reflect on any personal traits or habits you have that impedes Ahimsa in your life. Identify those times, both on and off the mat, when you have created pain or suffering to yourself or others.
Contemplate the nature of Ahimsa. What does it mean to be in or out of Ahimsa? What are the different forms of physical, emotional, mental suffering that one can inflict upon one’s self or others? What are the gross and subtle expressions of Ahimsa?
STEP 2. Decide what Tapas
You can be specific or more general.
Specific Tapas – Maybe you have a tendency towards hurtful and destructive thought patterns. For the Tapas you can commit to observing that internal chatter on and off the yoga mat and become aware of those negative internal dialogue towards yourself or others. Your Tapas is to be vigilant of arising thoughts that are of a scolding, berating, nit-picking, discouraging or harshly judging nature. Then to counteract those thoughts by glancing at your Sanskrit tattoo, taking a few breaths and dissolving those thoughts within the light of your awareness and extending an invitation for ahimsa to be expressed within your heart and mind.
General Tapas– Allow the Sanskrit tattoo to act as a constant reminder throughout your day for you to cultivate ahimsa in your thoughts, words and actions. Noticing those times when Ahimsa is naturally abiding and when it isn’t. As part of your tapas at the end of each day commit to writing 1 page of reflective writing on the successes and challenges that keeping Ahimsa has presented to you.
STEP 3. Decide on duration
A tapas always has a predefined day and time to begin and end. Each Sanskrit tattoo lasts for several days. Set the duration of your tapas according to the number of tattoos you have available to you. If you are new to tapas start with 1-3 days so you can experience the sense of completion and accomplishment. Longer tapas of 1 week, 21 days 49 days are very popular amongst seasoned yoga practitioners.
Remember setting a Tapas is like setting a personal goal, make it a challenge but be realistic, it should be achievable!
Be clear and precise when you set the parameters for the tapas. What day and time it starts? What day and time it stops? Exactly what your tapas entails? Requires of you?
STEP 4. Start your Tapas
Traditionally Tapas is self-practice and a private and confidential commitment that one makes. Keeping Tapas confidential makes you more determined and steadfast in the practice. Other than maybe your teacher avoid telling other people about you tapas. If you tell others premature praise and applause may weaken your resolve, commitment and staying power to complete the tapas.
If you don’t have a teacher feel free to contact us for advice and support.
On the first day of your Tapas apply your Sanskrit tattoo first thing in the morning. You can wipe the tattoo off at the end of each day and apply a fresh tattoo the next morning. Or keep the same tattoo for a few days.
Top Tip – For a constant visual of the Sanskrit and so the vibration of the sacred text is carried throughout the body we recommend placing a tattoo on the pulse area inner side of each wrist. However, if you want to tattoo to last longer place it somewhere with less skin movement
STEP 5 End your Tapas
On the designated day and time when your tapas ends, silently acknowledge your accomplishment and reflect on any challenges, lessons, experiences, insights etc.
STEP 6 Share your experience
Once the Tapas is complete we encourage you to share your experience with fellow yogis, your teacher, your friends. Your personal experience can inspire and enthuse others to also advance themselves through Sanskrit sadhana and Tapas.
STEP 7 Get in touch
We love to hear from you. What did you do for your Ahimsa Tapas? How did it go?
Set an Ahimsa Tapas and stay on track.