Happy New Year, Namastones!
I hope your 2024 is off to a peaceful start. As we approach MLK Day, we are reminded to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who called the principle of nonviolent resistance the “guiding light of our movement.”
Dr. King established six principles of nonviolence. One principle holds that nonviolent resistance avoids “external physical violence” and “internal violence of spirit.” He demonstrated that the resister should be motivated by love in the sense of the Greek word agape, which means understanding or redeeming good will for all men. In another principle of nonviolence, Dr. King held that the resister must have a “deep faith in the future” stemming from the conviction that “the universe is on the side of justice” (Nonviolence, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University).
In yoga, the term ahimsa in Sanskrit is often translated as nonviolence. Ahimsa represents doing as little harm as possible to all beings. This includes showing agape love for yourself in ways that edify you. Yet, no matter what this looks like for you - perhaps by practicing yoga regularly - you can anticipate resistance at every turn. First, you may need to overcome the resistance of other priorities keeping you from your yoga mat, solitude chair, or meditation pillow. Then, once in position, you may need to resist the natural inclination to stay in your head and emotions by pushing past your thoughts. Further, when guided to take a twist or a balancing pose, you may be challenged to resist the belief that you can’t do it before you even try.
On your mat and out in the world, you can fight resistance by getting out of your own way to allow yourself to release present day stress and past trauma from your body. In my own yoga practice, I’ve learned how to notice my resistance to change (nothing lasts forever), my tendency to fear the discomfort of a stretch (the resistance is the release), and my disdain for losing control while attempting to balance (you get stronger just by trying).
Agape love and ahimsa nonviolence are both principles that can help motivate you to practice more self-care that reflects your inner light out into the world, without resisting the release. We are all learning and growing, one breath at a time.
To explore more, join me online for a gentle MLK Day Restorative Yoga practice or connect with me to shedule a private session.