Developing compassion as an antidote to internal (and external) violence

We often find ourselves getting angry at ourselves or others and as a result we sometimes experience violence in our thoughts and actions. 

It's possible overcome some of this irritation in life, and the associated violence, by practicing compassion.

We're often quick to judge and get angry at someone that cut us off in traffic but (assuming there is no accident) who is harmed by the tirade of thoughts that go through our minds? The other driver certainly isn't aware or affected by them, but we arrive at our destination angry and frustrated, and carry that energy into the meeting, meal or home that we were travelling to, affecting not only ourselves but everybody we meet for the rest of the day. We replay the event as we tell others about it, bringing up the feelings and sensations of anger over and over again.

We do not know other peoples stories (even if we think we do). Their actions almost certainly were not a deliberate attack, but why do we act as if it's personal? What if that driver was rushing to be with a family member at a difficult time? What if they had spent the hours before caring for their child and had ended up being late and having to rush because they read just one more story to their favorite person? What if their thoughts were elsewhere because they were worried about a good friend or they were anxious about an upcoming interview? What if they were lost? What if it was simply an error in judgment? (What if they were just a inconsiderate person or bad driver?!)

What if we met the event with compassion?

When someone unknowingly pushes your buttons and the tirade of internal (or external) commentary begins, see if you can meet the moment with compassion and understanding.
Rather than swirling in a whirlwind of negativity and stories that only further escalate your feelings, practice compassion and let go of the need to judge and berate.

Not only will you feel the benefit of this practice, so will the person you're interacting with, and so might everyone else you encounter through the day!

Gemstones for Ahimsa and Balance

If you're struggling to find balance in your work, diet, rest, exercise, time with friends and family, or any other area, add some amethyst to your day to remind you of the practice of working towards balance.

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Amethyst is a powerful stone for the mind. It is believed to calm or stimulate the mind as necessary, as well as to help the wearer feel more focused and in control of their thoughts and actions.
Amethyst helps in the creation of new ideas, enhancing creativity and passion, putting thought into action, and seeing projects through to completion.

A gemstone to improve motivation, intuition and help with decision making and a talisman of focus and success.

Amethyst is also believed to help with emotional balance, dispelling anger, fear and negativity. It is especially supportive for those who are stressed, overworked, or overwhelmed in bringing them back to a calm center.

Amethyst Ranges in colour from a light to rich deep purple. 108 bead knotted malas, bracelets and leather wraps all available. Check out our store or message us to have a design made just for you. These also make thoughtful gifts, each one arrives in a hand made bag with a description of the gemstone's metaphysical properties

Journal: Ahimsa and Balance

It's that day of the week where we encourage you to take some time to journal so grab your laptop or notebook and start a fresh page.

This week we're thinking about balance: On the mat we're looking at physical balance and the balance between effort and ease. In our journaling, we'll be looking at balance in the way we spend our days.

If we can find more balance in life we feel more fulfilled, content and happier. These inner feelings affect our interactions both with ourselves and with others, helping us to lead lives in a more peaceful way and practice the yogic principle of ahimsa (non-harm).

Ahimsa Journal Balance

Do you feel like your life is currently in balance (work - play -activity - rest - time with family & friends - time for self)?

If you do not feel like life is in balance, what is most unbalanced? What do you spend the most time & energy on, and what gets neglected the most?

(If you feel like you have a healthy balance of rest/work/time with family/time for reflection, consider if there are any other areas of your life where finding balance could be beneficial.)

What would balance look like to you at the moment? Describe how finding balance in work/life/play/rest etc would look and feel.

What small steps can you take to begin to bring more balance into your life?

Ahimsa and Balance

This month we have been focusing on the yogic practice of ahimsa/non-violence. We have brought awareness to the nature of our thoughts and how we can sometimes be violent to ourselves, and then brought awareness to our actions and how we can harm in the things that we do and/or say. Over the next two weeks we'll be focusing on two techniques that can help to practice ahimsa in our day to day lives.

This week the focus is on balance. There are many ways that being out of balance can cause harm (think of the last time you were short with someone because you were too busy, or had too little sleep). If we bring more balance into our lives, we are less likely to cause harm through thought and action.

Some examples of imbalance in daily life that many of us experience are:
- Being out of balance in our diets such as over consumption of unhealthy foods, under-consumption of good nutrition, over consumption of alcohol or sugar, or under-consumption of water.
- Being out of balance in our health such as under exercising/having a too sedentary lifestyle, or in some cases over-training and pushing the body to injury.
- Not maintaining a healthy work/life balance can cause emotional harm to family and friends and can harm our mental, physical and emotional health.
- Failing to find balance in a schedule (over-scheduling) can lead to stress both for the over-scheduled individual and for the people they encounter through the day. It can lead to exhaustion and resorting to fast food etc which affect our health and well-being.

Through the course of this week I encourage you to consider where in your life you may be feeling a little out of balance and what small steps you can take to start to embody the practice of balance.
Do not feel like you need to be 'fixed' or that you have to find balance in every element of your life all at once. Consider where you would like to most feel more balance, such as family time, health, diet, exercise or sleep. Think or journal about what balance in that area of life looks like to you at the moment. Then plan some small actions that will help you step towards balance this week.

Remember that practicing balance in life is not about perfection, and it's not a static or statue-like state to be in. If you are in a balancing yoga pose, there are constant movements and adjustments, and the same applies in life. As on the yoga mat, do not get discouraged if you fall out of balance, there is always the opportunity to try again.

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:

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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).

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!

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