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The Yoga of Healing- Part 1

How can yogic philosophy help one sail across the unavoidable high and low tides of life?

In the Eight Limbs of Yoga originating from The yoga Sutras of Patanjali, there is a limb called Yama which is the first out the eight. These limbs can be considered as stages in the yoga journey that lead us towards freedom, self-realisation and an ultimate state of unification with all that is.

Yama is composed of 5 ethical principles which are, Ahimsa (non violence), Satya (truthfulness/honesty), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (moderation), Aparigraha (non-attachment). These serve as pointers/reminders on how to live and interact with the world around us in a harmonious way, though in this case, I am using the Yamas in relationship primarily with ourSelves.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika adds a few extra Yama which are less known; forgiveness, endurance/ perseverance, kindness, humility/modesty, moderation in diet and cleanliness.

Aligning with these ethical principles has given me the opportunity to be in better relationship to my mind, body and soul, hence, to keep pain at bay.

In this part, I'll share the first limb, Ahimsa

1. Ahimsa (non-violence, non-harming)

Ahimsa means causing no harm, practicing compassion. To me if compassion is the cause, non-harming is the effect.

Unable to walk, dependant on family for all of my basic needs, experiencing excruciating pain, I am bed-ridden sensing the grief of what I had lost; my appearance forever changed, fear of the unknown and a deep recognition that all I can do is to love and let love heal me. This is when I knew that if I was to heal, I had to let no fear of what if's enter my mind, and tend to what was unfolding in a loving way, however painful...

When I was at my worst after the accident I had, I wrote a letter to my badly-injured leg which I share below

I will care for you as a mum cares for her child

Caring and patient during your cries and painful times

Observing you from close so I can attune to your needs

I will care for you as a loving mum who does not mind getting woken up in the middle of the night

Or if you hurt me with your ways throughout the day without wanting to

Life has made you need extra care and even though your weeping has made me sob for weeks, damming my eyes, preventing me from fully seeing, I can see you now

I can look at you in your rawness; with all of your missing and added parts and love you as you are, where you are, because it’s a miracle you’re here with me…

Like a loving mum cares for her child,

I am here to listen,

what ails you child?

If you have any wounded, injured parts in you, how would it feel to speak to it/them like this? It doesn't have to be with words, but with feeling


It is very easy to either blame ourselves or others when we are touched by pain, it is easy to complain and feel that this shouldn't be happening, but when we do this, we negate what is happening, and our energy is given away to the complaints rather than to the parts of us that need it.

Rather than judging what is we can use the pain as a learning opportunity which will bring us in contact with a new reality, whether we like it or not, and this requires adaptation to change and at the heart of it, compassion. * Judging what we perceive as a life injustice is OK too, it belongs and can be a part of healing itself as long as you don't get stuck in it for too long...

Now, what if we have a condition, injury or ailment that makes us feel discomfort/pain while trying to support it or make it better?

Compassion doesn't mean that we will avoid something that can momentarily bring discomfort or more pain, as in the long term, it might have the ability to help us heal. Most, if not all the healing techniques and practices I've done, have brought me face to face with aches, hurts, and suffering, but as with any threshold, we must walk it if we are to move to the next phase.

Practicing ahimsa doesn't mean that we stay home, only do 'what feels good' and do nothing in order to not trigger a pain response, it is quite the opposite. In order to heal, we must be willing to have a relationship with our pain so that instead of trying to push it away, we can use it as something we become curious about so we get to know it, and work with it rather than against it.

Getting better and helping ourselves often requires a lot of effort and that in itself can bring momentary discomfort, whether that is doing yoga, going to gym, changing diet, getting to therapy, etc.

Compassion here means we deliberately chose what supports our healing, even if it isn't easy and the rewards takes time. As any good friend would sit and listen to how you are, you become this friend for yourself, you become the kind awareness in which healing can take place.

Violence is forceful, compassion is soft yet powerful. All efforts in the right direction are never wasted and by walking this path of compassion towards ourselves, we will discover than we can be larger than the story of what happened to us

"Healing was learning that no one has ever laid a finger on the part of me that is infinite" Andrea Gibson

May you be free from pain 🙏🏼

1 commentaire

Rita Melro
Rita Melro
27 mai

This is so beautiful and inspiring 🤍 thank you so much for sharing it!

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