Workshop Wrap-Up – Ahimsa
Testimonial ~ Amber
“What an amazing experience today!! Super insightful. Cried my eyes out differently, in a good way. Can’t wait until the next one.”
Testimonial ~ Smithy
“I love everything about Becca’s practice. I love her honesty. I love how she makes everyone practicing feel safe and heard. I love the principles she incorporates into her practice. She’s a beautiful soul, an asset to the yoga community, and if you are blessed enough to practice with her you will leave feeling peaceful and loved, with a new perspective on the true purpose of yoga. 💗”
Testimonial ~ Lorie
“Went to the women’s non-violence workshop and it was AMAZING! I got so many tools to use in my daily life! Can’t wait to attend future workshops!”
Ahimsa – Nonviolence
Ahimsa, in Sanskrit nonviolence, in the first of five Yamas, which represents the first limb of ashtanga yoga. The Yamas are observances, or principles that we practice as yogis in order to effectively work the other 7 limbs of the eight-limbed path into our lives.
Yoga Dreams and Plans
On August 1, 2020, I threw my first yoga workshop. This alone feels crazy to say, as this is something I have been dreaming of for years! I’ve been saying for a while “all I want to do is teach yoga, throw workshops, and host retreats!” Well, while this does in fact look different from what I thought it would (as everyone’s 2020 has surely done to them), I am still in fact living this dream.
While retreats have a pin in them, as that will be a little more difficult to accomplish with the pandemic, I have been teaching Zoom classes online here and there, teaching for a local Las Vegas nonprofit, Alternative Peer Group (schedule here), and now I’ve thrown my first workshop! I know that this is a huge accomplishment given the world in which I became a certified yoga teacher, and I keep reminding myself of this because I’ve worked hard to get where I am today.
My Workshop Series
I knew I wanted to do something with meditation as this is what initially drew me into the yoga world, but after completing my 200 hour YTT with Mojave Yoga Collective, I felt drawn to start at the beginning with the yamas – the first limb of the eight limbed path. My experience with the yamas preceded yoga teacher training, but I got to delve much deeper and came out with a greater appreciation for the practice of these principles. I wanted to share these with women and how I have learned to use them in everyday modern life, as well as create a space where they might learn from others and pick up some tools to use daily.
So I began with Ahimsa, nonviolence. I have written a whole blog on ahimsa and what it means to me and how it shows up in my life, you can read that here. I immediately knew that focusing on self-love would be paramount to anyone, and therefore relevant to everyone. What a perfect workshop topic! And the series will continue as we dive into the second yama, Satya, truthfulness, in September 2020, Asteya, nonstealing in October, and so forth and so on.
Here’s what we experienced in the first workshop on Ahimsa:
Introduction to the Workshop
In order for my workshops to be a sacred, safe, and healing space, I have to have intentional actions throughout the entirety of the workshop. I open up the space with a prayer and/or a chant. We discuss and agree upon a set of customs by which we will interact. We do some introductions, and an icebreaker to open up our sharing energy.
There are many paths to experience asana, but the main goal of these workshops is to experience the yamas and the niyamas first and foremost and how they exhibit in the physical body. This ahimsa-focused yoga class was a well-rounded, all levels vinyasa class based around the concepts of self-love.
We often find ourselves comparing and pushing ourselves to fit in and achieve…something…in our yoga classes. The challenge here was to let go of judgement. Do the poses you wanted to do, not just the ones you could do. We also focused on breathing exercises, air being the element of the heart chakra. I could probably write an entire workshop on the practice of pranayama, balancing the heart chakra, and self-love, but for this workshop we settled for a couple of intentional breath exercises aligned with specific heart-opening postures.
The class was closed out with a guided heart opening meditation aimed at bringing self-love, peace, and a little grace into the heart. Just like the workshop and the yoga class, I write each meditation specifically to go with the topic of the workshop, so ahimsa was front and center as we focused on the breath, the heart chakra space, and other elements of balancing the heart chakra.
Workshop & Sharing Circle
After exploring self-love via asana and meditation, I brought us back into a group to learn more about ahimsa. I share from various resources and teachers that I have learned from myself, as we looked at how ahimsa applies from the perspective of the Yoga Sutras, and then how it has been interpreted in a more modern light.
We did journaling prompts, and sharing. There was laughter, tears, and grace. We held space for each other while we explored the violence within ourselves, and the violence that surrounds us in the world and how we can begin to bring self-love and compassion in to balance that force.