We are staying on the path to peace this week with our breakdown of Ahimsa (non-violence) – the first of the five guidelines set forth in the Yama, the first limb of Patanjali’s 8 Limbed Path as defined in the Yoga Sutra’s.

As we have previously discussed, Ahimsa is so foundational to living our yoga that we are addressing its basic principles. Last week we talked about the first thing you have to kick to the curb: Fear.

This week we are examining another major aspect needed for a practice of Ahimsa – Balance.

So non-violence, the practice of Ahimsa, doesn’t mean not whacking your husband with a frying pan or refraining from flipping off the driver that just cut you off. Okay, it does mean that too, but what we are talking about with regard to Ahimsa is non-violence to yourself.

What, What? Oh ya. That nasty stuff you do to yourself day in and day out – negative self-talk, fear-based anxiety, fear-based stress and, believe it or not, over-scheduling, over-committing and over-doing. In other words, NOT scheduling space. Time for yourself. A place to reflect. A yoga class. Some meditation time. Also known as maintaining Balance in your life. You cannot pour from an empty cup.

Finding your courage, aka kicking fear to the curb, requires the presence of your best self and you are not at your best self if you are running around like a chicken with your head cutoff snapping at all your little chicklets. When you are curt with someone (or yourself) because you are working on a deadline, drank too much coffee or didn’t get enough sleep, you are imbalanced and in violence. To yourself and others.

When you are in balance, you will automatically live in non-violence. 
So how do you get balanced? 

Create some space for your mind, body and soul to breathe. To digest and assimilate all the life happening to you and around you. De-clutter your calendar, your house and your mind. Let yourself take time to journal, daydream and imagine what living your yoga would look like. What balance may look like for you, on any given day, is probably different from what it looks like for your spouse, children or co-workers on any given day.

It isn’t an exact formula of 25 minutes a day will do it. It’s what works for you. How will you know it’s working? You’ll be kind to yourself and others. You’ll face a fear and win. You’ll find your courage.

Here’s the thing about life and balance. Spreading yourself thin, running from one thing to the next, checking email at stoplights, getting 5 hours of sleep each night because you are that productive (it’s actually so, so counterproductive), may look and even feel impressive but in the end, you lose.  In fact, everyone around you loses.

Balance will allow you to stroll through life with a feeling of calmness, competency and courage. You are primed to “win” when you meet life from a place of ease.