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Ahimsa, yoga for peace

Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahra, dharana, dhyana and samadhi are the eight limbs of yoga

Ahimsa, satya, asteya, bramacharya and aparigraha are the five yamas

The yoga sutras of Patanjali, 2.30-31

In the classical yoga system described by Patanjali more than two thousand years ago, the first pillar (or limb, as they are generally called) of yoga is Yama (ethical disciplines) and of these, Ahimsa is the first.  In short, according to Patanjali, ahimasa, non-violence or, as Desikashar defines it, "Consideration for all living creatures, especially those who are innocent, in difficulty or worse off than we are" should be the very beginning of any yoga practice. One of the greatest and most famous yogis of the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi, proved that ahimsa is a workable idea through his successful non-violent resistance to British rule in India.
What Patanjali (and Ghandi) tell us is that as yogis, we should be concerned about bringing peace in the world, and about promoting a peaceful resolution to conflicts of all kinds. They are telling us (and indeed, experience shows again and again) that violence is never a satisfactory solution. Violence hardens our ego and is self perpetuating. Look for example at  what is presently happening in Israel, where the brutally coercive methods used by Tsahal against Palestinians not only have failed to stop suicide bombings, but have contributed to further widening  the gap between the two communities and to making a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem more unlikely.

A number of organisations are promoting peace. They include:

By supporting these organisations, financially or otherwise, we are actively taking steps against the war and working toward a better, more peaceful world for ourselves and our children.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

Christophe Mouze, Editor Yoga Online