Yoga on Board & Sailing ahimsa
Ahimsa, one of the first Yamas or codes of behavior for yogis, is a Sanskrit word which is commonly translated as non-violence or non-harming. All Sanskrit words have many translations or tones and ahimsa can mean several things. One of the meanings I particularly like is where ahimsa is the opposite of violence. Himsa means violence and “a” means opposite. Or, in other words, compassion.
So, on a boat, non violence or non harming means not hurting myself or others. That is an almost impossible task on an action packed sailing vessel. With flying lines, spinning winches and swinging booms it’s inevitable you might “stub your toe”. The idea is to stay aware and alert.
Non harming the environment is also important on a boat. Spilled fuels, human waste and non recyclables become an issue.
But it is human interactions on a boat where ahimsa becomes critical. With tight quarters, strong personalities and extended time together some bruising may occur.
Practicing plain old human compassion is the lesson learned on the boat. I like the way our captain explains it. “We honor others by accepting thanks and allowing acts of kindness.” It’s a two-way exchange which increases in intensity with practice.
Ahimsa, not only non-violence but creating a better world.
~ Bill O’Connor
image credit: uwstudentweb.uwyo.edu