Wow! Our first month of classes have been awesome! We had a sold out Intro to Yoga Therapy workshop (our next one is Thursday, June 25 from 6:30-7:30pm), our first Yoga for Trauma Recovery workshop and some great conversations about yoga and ahimsa.
Ahimsa, the first part of the 8 limbs of yoga, translates to nonviolence or non-harming. I also appreciate the translation of compassion even if it is not a literal translation. Compassion offers us something to do instead of what not to do (don’t be violent vs. be compassionate).
This month we have been talking in class about ways we offer compassion towards ourselves and also ways we offer it out into the world. This past weekend I spent 3 days in silence solely focused on cultivating compassion and lovingkindness. A few days later I learn about the AME massacre, and the practice is thrown into full effect.
While I was on retreat my teacher, Jude Rozhon, spoke of using the practice of lovingkindness in extremely difficult situations. At first we offer compassion and lovingkindness to ourselves and the emotions and reactions that we are feeling. We take care of ourselves first so we can be of more service to others. Then Jude suggested asking for guidance in our meditation practice: What can I do?
Take a moment and practice compassion for what you feel (maybe it is rage, heartbreak, sadness, anger, fear, maybe something else or maybe all of the above). Hold those feelings with a sense of tenderness. Breathe in and out of them and give them the opportunity to simply be there. Mindfulness can be a radical act of compassion because it is an opportunity to slow down, take care of ourselves and offer ourselves this act of ahimsa before we make a decision, act or do something.
After tending to your own sweet heart ask, “what can I do?” Maybe you get an answer. Maybe you don’t. I believe that we can hold questions in our hearts and eventually live into the answers when the answers do not come right away. If you get an answer I would love to hear. Our ideas might offer other people a window into an action they had not previously thought of.
I would love to see you on the mat as we dive more deeply into compassion, nonviolence and ahimsa this month.