The Yamas: Ahimsa - non violence, non harming

by Maarten van Huijstee

The Yamas: Ahimsa - non violence, non harming

Several weeks ago, my teacher, Katiza Satya asked me to write the Theme of the Month for the first months of 2017. I was asked to write about the five "Yamas", one of the limbs of the eightfold path of Yoga. The Yamas are seen as the natural laws of Yoga which apply broadly in life and include self-restraints in one's action, words and thoughts. In January we start with "Ahimsa" which literally means "do not harm".

In the beginning I felt a hesitation within me, because I feel I know far too little about the Yamas to be of any help to others, but as with all challenges, I went on a journey inwards to explore a hidden Wisdom all human beings possess.

The last couple of years my path has been the path of not-knowing. So where to start? I quickly found out that it was in exactly that place I needed to stay, a space of not-knowing and not-doing. This space and the beautiful wisdom of the Tao te Ching would be the inspiration in writing the following verse on Ahimsa, the first of the five Yamas.


Can you keep your mind from its wandering when being rattled and moved?

Can you let your body remain subtle when shaken and stirred?

Can you step back and let events take their own course?

Can you love others without imposing your will?

Can you stay silent and thus understand all things?

Can you be true and thus become all?

Do not harm yourself.
Stay natural.


Please don't read the above verse as something to understand, do or change. Ahimsa or harmlessness is a natural quality all human beings posses and have inside. See it merely as a pointer to look inwards and be your natural self.

About Maarten van Huijstee

Maarten is first and foremost a human being and proud father to Philip and Alexander and dedicated husband to Anna. Despite his diverse career in marketing and advertising, founding a few companies, and an extensive list of chairs on numerous boards and committees, there has always been one thing Maarten’s heart has consistently been trying to tell him..