How does an athlete practice Ahimsa (non-violence)?
Updated: Jun 30
Ahimsa is one of the fives yamas. The yamas are one of the 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga.
It calls to cause no harm in thought, speech, or action to anyone else, including ourselves.
It is one of the biggest juxtapositions for athletes that practice yoga as it perfectly illustrates ones dark and light side.
How does someone do no harm, and then tackle someone at full speed?
How does someone talk trash on the court and then fist bump them after the game?
Compartmentalize your task and the intent.
This clip of Andrew Luck is both hilarious and an extreme example of understanding the difference between doing your job in a sport vs. aiming to harm someone.
A good way to put it is to objectively do your job, regardless of who else is involved. Almost as if you were competing against a robot.
The second part of non-violence is how we treat ourselves and this is even more important.
The biggest detriment to someone's performance would be negative self talk.
Psychologists say that 60-70% of thoughts are negative.
Utilizing mantras and affirmations in meditation, journaling, or throughout the day, we can start to groove neural pathways that instill a growth mindset.
Try and repeat, "I am unstoppable" in your head the next time you practice and see how that changes your demeanor and confidence.