Did you also have a friendship-notebook when you were younger? I know that a popular wish for many was: Peace. This for me is the same as non-violence, so doing no harm. And the foundation of the Yoga philosophy is that we harm no living beings. But let’s take a look at it closer to home. How non-violent are we towards ourselves and our immediate surroundings? Let’s look at: Learning to love yourself.
The theme of ‘learning to love yourself’ reminds me of a story a Yoga teacher once told me: ‘Think of all the comments that you hear inside of your head about yourself throughout the whole day and especially the ones that you hear when you look into the mirror: “What do you say to yourself?”, “What do you hear?” and “How does this make you feel?” ’. I call this: a confrontation with our own critical voice.
‘Chances are’, she said, ‘that you’re not so kind to yourself!‘ She nailed it for me. That is what we all do, all the time, we treat ourselves badly. Then she continued: ‘Now think of all those comments. What would you do if your best friend for example were to say these things to you every day, many times a day?’. The big question is: ‘What would you do?’.
Think about it. Like that teacher said: ‘You would show her the door, immediately!’. Funny isn’t it, we want peace for everybody in this world, but we can’t even walk by a mirror and be non-violent towards ourselves. So let’s choose for non violence instead please!
Our inner strength and character determine whether we can live with love, warmth and peace in our hearts. How do we do that? By ‘simply’ moving through life, by doing our thing in the world with courage, love, and compassion. I can hear you think: ‘…great words, but I still don’t know HOW on earth I can find peace in my heart?’.
Okay, I know how hard it is to be kind, even to ourselves. So let’s go back to the example of the mirror. Here’s a tip from Louise Hay that I love. Every time you walk past the mirror, you say: ‘Hello gorgeous!’. To yourself? Yes, that is where you start. First be non-violent and supportive to yourself. The rest will follow.
Learning to love yourself
Enhancing peace starts with taking care of yourself. When we are in balance, we create harmony and peace within us and around us. Here are some tips on learning to love yourself:
- Allow yourself plenty of healthy food, good sleep and exercise.
- Work on creating positive and constructive social relationships and healthy challenges.
- Think positive, loving thoughts, even though it might not be your best day.
- Express your needs. Remember the other person may say ‘No’, and that is fine too.
- Take time for exercise and relaxation.
- Do nothing for a day and digest the impressions of your day.
- Spend some time alone. Phone off. PC off.
- Create space in your agenda for some Me-time.
Last, but not least: Listen to your inner voice and allow this voice to direct you to a more non-violent way of being, to a life filled with love and actions coming from a place of kindness and compassion.
How to slow down? Simply take a break and do Yin Yoga.
Sit still. Stretch. Breathe. Continue.
Yin Yoga with Marianne
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I am a native Dutch Speaker, and a near-native English speaker; so forgive me for any language mistakes. I love learning, so teach me. Feedback is welcome: email@example.com.
© This blog is inspired by a book from Deborah Adele: The Yamas and Niyamas, Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice.