Ahimsa is the first Yama (restraints). It is non violence, not hurting or harming of other living beings or yourself in thought, word or deed.
Since Osho has written so beautifully about ahimsa, I am going to share his words from The Essence of Yoga. Ahimsa is a passive state which simply says that “I will not hurt you”. This of course does not guarantee that you will not be hurt since we create our own wounds and our own misery. When a yogi gets established in ahimsa, life becomes absolutely non violent towards the yogi.
Life is not a doer, it is simply a mirror and it reflects us. The responsibility for what life has offered us is a result of our choices. We have the freedom to choose happiness or misery at any given moment. In the beginning this freedom feels like a huge burden because we can no longer lay the blame for our circumstances on anything outside ourselves. However this freedom also brings power; all you need to do is choose to be happy.
Unfortunately humans are not able to reflect correctly, we have gathered so much rubbish, so many fixed attitudes, beliefs and ideologies that our mirror is covered in dust. One of the causes of our suffering is avidya or ignorance which makes us mistake the non eternal for the eternal, the impure for the pure, the painful as pleasurable and the non self as self. So maybe choosing happiness is not as simple as it seems!
Throughout my Teacher Training at The Yoga Institute, most of my realizations involved how I was not following a yogic way of living. I immediately wanted to start living a perfect life which is not easy when faced with 30 years of multiplying craving, desire, attachment and aversion.
Change is the result of awareness, patience, acceptance and perseverance. Every little step you take immediately gives you many rewards which encourage the next baby step.