The goal of yoga is to know oneself on all levels, physical, mental, and spiritual. To be able to accomplish this task requires a serene mind. A mind that is agitated simply cannot enter into the depth of meditation necessary to gain the fullness of knowledge. This is the reason that the very first practice of Yoga is ahimsa, the practice of non-violence.
Practicing ahimsa diminishes the tendency toward hatred and violence in our minds, and increases the tendency toward love and peacefulness, which naturally leads to a serene mind.
The practice of ahimsa can take many forms, and sometimes may be quite creative. Here is a story of a practice of ahimsa that happened recently in India, as related by Swami Veda Bharati:
"A Hindu owned company in Mumbai refused employment to a Muslim on religious grounds. All India Muslim League made a response. They passed a resolution stating: We will follow the Gandhian method. For every one Muslim who is refused a job on religious grounds the Muslim companies will give jobs to ten Hindus."
So, rather than reacting to the discrimination by the Mumbai company in a violent way, the Muslim League came up with a non-violent, loving response; a response that expands love and understanding, rather than hatred. This is the active, positive, practice of ahimsa.
If this could be done in India, where there is much religious friction, what can we do, in our day-to-day lives, to practice ahimsa in a way that expands love? It's a question worth considering.