“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu
The moment you step on your mat—no, the moment you decide to practice yoga—you engage in an act of kindness.
You are making a commitment to treat yourself with kindness, to care for your body, to give it what it needs to sustain itself and thrive.
Touching your toes in Forward Bend is an act of kindness to your hamstrings and calves.
Balancing in Tree pose is an act of kindness to your ankles and toes, and to your sense of balance, as well.
Downward Dog is a way of expressing kindness to your shoulders, arms, hips, and legs.
It doesn’t take long before you begin to notice how your body responds to these acts of kindness with greater ease and growing confidence in its ability to flow with each breath, to find fullness in each moment.
In time, as you begin to view your practice as an act of kindness, you may start to notice how kindness seeps into your thoughts, softening critical voices that might be sharing negative thoughts, silencing voices of doubt and fear, bringing a sense of peace and equanimity to your life.
You may notice, too, how this practice of kindness spreads eventually to the person on the mat next to yours when you take the time to ask his or her name, or when you offer help getting blankets or an extra block or belt before the start of class.
Showing kindness this way helps strengthen the invisible threads connecting each of us to one another.
And when you hold the hand of the person balancing beside you in Tree Pose, or link your arm with theirs so that together you can bend forward in Warrior I, you may discover that you are part of a community, a world, a universe much larger than yourself.
If you base your practice on kindness, you may find that your practice can inspire you and others to become more compassionate.
And out of compassion can come a greater sense of love—for your self, for the people practicing yoga in class around you, for the world that you inhabit, and for a universe that is constantly expanding.
Each time you step on your mat your practice helps you bring more kindness and compassion into the world.
Practice journal: How has your practice inspired you to be more kind to yourself and to others? How might you change or enhance your practice so that you can express more kindness to yourself and those around you? Write: 10 min.