Gemstones for Ahimsa

If you're looking for a reminder to practice ahimsa (both towards yourself and to others) meditate with or wear rose quartz.

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Known as the ‘stone of unconditional love’ rose quartz opens the heart to both giving and receiving love.
A calming and reassuring stone of compassion and peace, it dissolves fears, resentments and anger. Rose quartz draws away negative energy and replaces it with positive vibes.

This stone encourages self-acceptance and self-trust, and teaches us how to love ourselves, opening the door for us to love others.

Meditating with rose quartz encourages the wearer to be compassionate, and to release patterns that no longer serve them.

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All designs shown in the images are available to purchase now in the shop tab. If a style or size you'd like isn't listed, message us as we'll be happy to make something just for you!

Journal: Ahimsa in Actions

This week we're exploring the idea of ahimsa (non violence) in our actions, both on and off the mat.

There are many ways we can be violent on a daily basis whether it's pushing our bodies too hard on the yoga mat, not taking care of ourselves physically, driving aggressively, purchasing items from sources that do not align with our values, and in our interactions with people around us.

Do not to be disappointed in yourself or give yourself a hard time for actions of the past or errors made. We have the opportunity to learn from mistakes and recommit to our practice every day, doing the best we can from there.

Remember most importantly both on and off the mat, your best is enough!

Grab your journal and find a quiet spot with a cup of tea and write about the following:

Journal Ahimsa2

Freewrite about ways in which you have an affect on the world around you in your daily life. Consider interactions with other people, products you consume etc. Are there any areas in which you could practice ahimsa? What steps will you take this week to encourage more peaceful interactions and choices.

Are there any parts of your physical yoga practice (asana) in which you could practice ahimsa? Are there any poses that you force? Do you have any injuries that you should protect and modify for? (If you do not practice yoga poses, consider this question in relation to your daily actions/workouts etc).

Affirmation: Ahimsa in Action

Include this affirmation in your yoga (asana) practice and meditation, your daily tasks, work, and larger practice of non-violence.

Your best is enough!

Ahimsa Best Is Enough

Ahimsa In Our Day To Day Actions

ahimsa chocolate

I don't think I realised how vast the reach of ahimsa is until I made it the focus of my journaling last week. I recommend exploring the deeper reaches of non-violence in our daily actions and choices, but also do so with a word of warning that it's an enormous subject that can feel suddenly overwhelming! What I discovered that was to some extent everything we do and everything we consume has an impact on something or someone in the world in one way or another.

Earlier this week I was reading an article shared online by my school (I went to a Quaker school. Quaker beliefs are also firmly rooted in the practice of non violence). Quakers had been a large part of the chocolate industry in the UK as a non violent alternative to the alcohol industry. The two main companies (Rowntree's and Cadbury) are no longer owned by Quakers since being purchased by Nestle and Kraft. The article spoke about the potential use of child labour in cocoa plantations and the use of palm oil in their products, and the writer's concern as a Quaker about consumption of the products as a result. He spoke of moving away from the traditionally Quaker brands which are no longer owned by people following the ethics (non violence) of Quakerism, towards fairtrade chocolate instead.

'How is consumption of something like palm oil violent?' you may ask, 'it's sourced from plants and suitable for vegans, what harm could it do?' Palm oil is used in many food and cosmetic products but unfortunately the production/sourcing is often linked to mass deforestation, the killing of endangered animals such as orangutans, and destroying indigenous tribes.

This got me thinking about the many other things we do every day that on the surface do not appear violent or harmful, but in fact may not be as harmless as we think. Everything we do has an impact somewhere from wardrobes full of fast fashion made by underpaid (sometimes child) laborers to the use of plastic straws that contribute to ocean pollution.

There are so many implications to what we do on a daily basis that it may feel impossible to make a difference, but please do not get discouraged, the small actions of ahimsa that we practice do add up.
This is acknowledged by a British primatologist Jane Goodall when she said 'You cannot go through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.'

Remind yourself that the yogic path is not about perfection but about awareness and doing what you can.
Gandhi understood that living in 100% ahimsa is not always possible when he said 'Ahimsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence'.

This week, take a few moments to consider the larger effects of your actions, from the items you purchase and consume, to the people you interact with daily. Make the commitment to practice the spirit of ahimsa as much as possible.

Gemstones: Overcoming Negative Self-Talk

If you're looking for a gemstone to compliment the inner work required for Ahimsa, and overcome negative self-talk, Orange Aventurine is perfect!

Orange aventurine is a stone of good luck, fortune, and new possibilities. A confidence building stone that is helpful when dealing with issues of self-worth, it is known as 'The Whisper Stone' as it helps to quiet a critical/judgmental inner voice. Orange aventurine encourages perseverance and helps to focus energies of creativity, vitality, and determination, helping the wearer to find new ways to overcome challenges in one’s life. Orange Aventurine calms the mind of inner chatter during meditation.

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You can carry a tumbled gemstone in your pocket or purse, or hold it during meditation. Alternatively you can wear an orange aventurine necklace or bracelet as a beautiful visual reminder throughout the day. Orange aventurine jewelry including the one shown in this photo is available in our shop tab, or contact us for a free custom design quote to have the perfect piece made just for you!

Affirmation: Ahimsa

An affirmation for your practice to remind yourself that you get to choose what you think every day!

Ahimsa Affirmation

Journal: Ahimsa

Journal writing helps us to understand our thought processes and behaviour patterns. Grab your journal and set aside some quiet time to write in response to the following prompts.

Ahimsa Journal 1

Write a letter to your inner critic. Write down some of the mean things s/he's been saying and then explain to him/her the things you're doing right.

Do a negativity purge. Grab a piece of paper and write about all the negative things that have been swirling around in your mind recently. Don't over think or edit, just write quickly!
Once you have it all down on paper give yourself permission to let the thoughts go and leave them on the paper. You can keep the page in your journal, or dispose of it any way you wish. If some of the situations need to be taken care of in the future, commit to approaching them with a fresh pair of eyes and fresh mindset.

Keep a daily gratitude journal.
Taking time at the end of the day to reflect on the people and things we are grateful for can help lift us out of negative thinking. Whether you're thankful for the 5 minutes you got to enjoy a cup of tea that morning, or for a friend sending a text, or for your dog who shows you unconditional love, focusing on what we do have rather than what we don't helps to switch from a negative to a positive mindset.

CHALLENGE: For the next 2 weeks (or longer), keep a daily gratitude journal. Write down 3 things every evening that you're thankful for that day.
Feel free to share one of today's with us in the comments below!

Ahimsa In Thoughts

Our first week's focus on Ahimsa in the studio we'll be starting with the internal work; we can't be non violent on the outside if all we have is violence on the inside!

Something that no one can see from the outside, but almost all of us experience, is negative thought patterns. We can talk ourselves into believing we're not good enough to follow our dreams, not smart enough to join a conversation, and we beat ourselves up about something we said a day, week, month or even a year ago. We tell ourselves we can't do things before we even try and then, as a result, never try. We play out scenarios in our minds that have never even happened and let them get us angry and irritated (this is especially harmful when done in the middle of the night, robbing us of both our peace of mind and hours of sleep!). We grumble internally while waiting in queue for a cashier who takes their time. We let a car cutting in-front of us or impatient driver cloud our thoughts with negativity. We hold on to anger and grudges for years, not necessarily hurting the person with whom we hold the grudge, but definitely hurting ourselves.

I'm not suggesting that we can magically forget all negative thoughts (expecting to be able to do so is a sure way to start a new spiral of negative self-talk: 'Ugh that was a negative thought, I suck at this, I'll never shut my mind up, everyone else can do this but me, why do I even try -aargh they were all negative thoughts. I give up!'). It is however important to be aware of how negative thoughts affect us both mentally and physically. Negative thoughts create stress and tension in the body as well as the mind, they steal the joy from your days and affect our interactions with people around us (often stealing their joy too!)

As with the process of meditation, the first step is simply to be aware of what is happening in the mind; to be an observer of the endless chatter. We can look at thoughts from this perspective of detached awareness and can choose what to believe and what to ignore, what to engage with and what to throw out.

When it comes to internal chatter, I like to ask myself 'is this useful?'. If it's not, I get to change the subject or replace the negative thoughts with more useful ones.

As you go through the rest of today and the rest of this week, practice being an observer of your thoughts both on and off the mat. Over the course of the day/week, notice if you are habitually more inclined to think negative or positive thoughts. Notice if you play out arguments, negative interactions and scenarios that haven't yet happened. Notice if you dwell on negative events or conversations of the past. Notice if you tell yourself you're not good enough/smart enough/can't do whatever-it-is-you're-trying-to-do.
When you find yourself in those negative thoughts, notice how they make you feel both physically and mentally, ask yourself 'is this useful?' then take the opportunity to stop the thought and refuse to follow it down its rabbit hole to the depths of negativity. Take a breath and reset. Over time it's possible to change our habits of negative thinking, to allow more joy and peace to enter our minds, and to share that joy and peace with the people around us.

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