The Yamas are the first "limb" of yoga as concluded by Pantanjali, a famous sage who brought together the teachings behind yoga in his compilation The Yoga Sutras.
These social observances are boiled down principles to govern your actions, motives, and behaviors as you interact not only with yourself, but with your community. We will look closely at ahimsa today, or non-harming.
Ahimsa: Non-Harming/ Non-Violence
Ahimsa is simply practicing to reduce physical, mental, emotional, environmental, and spiritual harm and violence. This yama requests that you take a look at your actions and see how you can live more symbiotically with your community in order to foster health and vitality around you instead of harm and destruction.
Practicing ahimsa in your words means using intentional communication. Intentional communication considers all factors going into the exchange to ensure that the intention of the words spoken are able to be received and understood fully.
• Communicate intentionally by asking: Is it true? Is it necessary? Can it be spoken to minimize harm?
• Try to go organic – your money gives energy to the industry standards you accept
• Buy local produce and products to minimize the use of petrochemicals in transport while boosting local economy.
• Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is when your body recovers and rehydrates from the day prior
• Use compassion with those who are unhappy or suffering
• Release judgments of yourself and others
• Create strong boundaries for yourself and others to respectfully operate within