Cultivate Self-Compassion With The Yogic Principle of Ahimsa

This is my simple religion.

There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.

Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Ahimsa is the yogic discipline of benevolence, non-violence, and non-harm.

It’s the first step in the practice of true Yoga and is the first of 5 Yamas or self-regulating behaviors:

The Yamas are the first of 8 major limbs or stages in Yoga:

And while it’s relatively easier to observe this practice of benevolence and non-hatred in relation to others, it tends to be more challenging in relation to ourselves.

We can be our biggest critic, judge, and bully.

Think of the beliefs you hold about yourself.

The tone of your internal dialogue.

How do you speak to yourself?

What messages do you send to your body?

What thoughts swim around in your mind when you catch your reflection in the mirror?

Every time we think “not enough” we unleash a small internal burst of violent energy.

But… we can change that pattern.

We can change how we relate to ourselves.

We can choose to be kinder to ourselves.

We can choose to wish ourselves well.

We can combat inner violence with heartfelt gratitude.

Gratitude is like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it gets.


[BG Music: Chris Zabriskie, “The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan,” Licensed under Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/]

AHIMSA SELF-COMPASSION PRACTICE:

Take a moment for yourself – to come home to yourself.

It’s time to stop what you’re doing and go inwards.

Sit comfortably and upright.

Close your eyes and place both hands over your heart.

Notice whatever sensations are present.

Maybe you can sense, hear, or feel the pulse of your heartbeat.

See if you can feel the subtle rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale.

Follow your inhales and exhales and breathe with full attention and awareness.

Engage your lower belly as you inhale so that it expands outwardly and contracts inwardly towards your spine with each exhale.

Imagine the palms of your hands radiating warm light into your chest.

Picture it penetrating each layer until the light reaches your heart.

Feel that for a moment.

Stay present with it.

Be fully present as you nurture your own heart with your own light.

Now begin to direct loving kindness and good intentions towards yourself.

Repeat after me (either out loud or internally):

May I be healthy.

May I find inspiration.

May I love and feel loved.

May I be fulfilled.

May I learn from pain.

And again…

May I be healthy.

May I find inspiration.

May I love and feel loved.

May I be fulfilled.

May I learn from pain.

And again… once more:

May I be healthy.

May I find inspiration.

May I love and feel loved.

May I be fulfilled.

May I learn from pain.

And so it is, and so it will be.

Namaste + In La’kech

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