What came next was an inner dialogue with myself, it started out as criticism (which I am afraid happens so often to so many of us), but that is what ultimately brought me to this entry.
Luckily when the "inner critic" arrived this morning, I was able to observe her & utilize years of yoga education; I was quickly able to "let it go", release those feelings & then to evaluate them for opportunities of self-discovery & reflection.
Here's what followed...
Ahimsa: the act of "non-harming" (one of the 5 Yamas according to Patanjali) came to mind. Ahimsa is a complete lack of violence; from one's mind, body & spirit - it is not just to avoid engaging in acts of violence, but lacking the capacity to even think harmful thoughts. Wait!? Whoa...Now this is BIG!
Abstaining from violent action is easy (mostly) for me, I don't squash bees & spiders just because they are undesirable house guests, I am friendly to my neighbors even though they leave their recycle can out days after the recycling has picked up, however in a word full political uproar, war, injustice, discrimination & social hubris & exhibitionism it is difficult to remove ALL harmful thoughts.
I am in no way a perfect yogi - I rarely practice asana (which is probably why I cannot do adho mukha vrkasana / yoga handstand), I eat meat (I love it, I don't love to think about it, but I do give thanks for the animal's sacrifice at mealtime) & I drink like a fish (because? because I do!), but I have been trying to turn my yoga practice into a yogic lifestyle.
Though when contemplating ahimsa I need to remind myself of the great sage, Yoda's words, "Do or do not! There is no try!"
If I allow harmful thoughts to exist within my being then these can materialize into words, deeds, & habits - I am then not entering the world from a place of love, but from a place of fear, inadequacy & judgement.
If I give these thoughts power, I am not living my ahimsa.
I am not living with mindfulness, kindness or intentionality. I am not living yoga.
And let's be honest, asana is gratifying (to be able to pop-up into a handstand without effort would be truly magickal), but yoga IS living.
"A mind at peace, a mind centered & not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe." -Wayne Dyer