Love and Kindness: A Week for Heart Opening Practices
The intention this week is especially for those who have loved and lost, or for those in need of bringing back a sense of joy, wonder and lightness of heart. If we invite our hearts to open a little wider (metaphorically) through yoga poses which open the chest, and then mentally hold this thought throughout our practice,I believe we may just find more space to give and receive love.
Through my personal experience I recommend to bring an element of playfulness into your practice, playfulness into your body and mind for the day…. This has helped me to nurture myself, set the tone for a kind and compassionate practice (this has also been the very thing that has helped me improve my flexibility the most) One last thought… perhaps smile wherever or whenever the mood so takes you – so far I have found smiles are contagious… internationally!
The more I live in the world the more I realize what we actually need to do to begin to tackle many of life’s problems is cultivate more love and kindness towards ourselves… But don’t misunderstand me, love and kindness is not as self-indulgent as it might first sound. It is not about realizing you or I are, ‘worth it’ - but it can be. It might be booking a spa treatment, a holiday or eating your favorite chocolate - but equally it might not be! If what you are doing is escaping the present discomfort/problem you face, by finding a distraction then this is not a loving or kind act towards yourself…. It is always individual and only you can truly know what is kind and what is not; what moves you forward, what moves you to escape…..
This requires presence of mind, ‘mindfulness’. Mindfulness can be understood to be paying attention, to the present moment just as it is, without adding our judgments, what I often say is ‘without comparisons, without criticisms and without creating a competition’. If this was easy we would all be meditating, it is not, but it’s a practice well worth getting familiar with.
In moments when you have cultivated love and kindness to yourself, the rest will follow, when you get better practiced and more consistent with creating this you will attract more into your life. For now these are just words on a screen but when you have an insight into these words being true, through personal practice, it will change everything. Just my opinion.
In making your intention for the week (which can be contemplated on at any time by the way, during any yoga practice this week, first thing every morning, or just randomly brushing your teeth for example) perhaps consider what ‘opening your heart’ might look like this week, this day and this very moment, how it just might positively affect your mind, your body and how this undoubtedly affects other people and society. Take a few moments.
Again either at the end of your yoga practice, end of the day or even just the end of the week, I would recommend taking a little time/space to consider any insights, thoughts or feelings you observed as a result of bringing an intention of ‘Love and Kindness: Heart Opening’ into your awareness, this moment. Taking this time I feel enables you to truly bring more love and kindness into our world and that’s got to be worth a couple of extra minutes of your time.