At the heart of yoga practice is love. The path begins with Ahimsa (non-harming to self and other). This is part of Patanjali’s 8- limbed journey to enlightenment.  When we are rooted in compassion, it is a wish-fulfilling tree producing the most beautiful fruit. Love will enter our thoughts, our words, and our actions. We will notice that we have become peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit; safe and free from injury, anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety. The seeds of true love- lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity- are already there in our storehouse of consciousness.

We are, by nature, endowed with qualities of absolute goodness-purest love, compassion, wisdom, and tranquility. Those radiant qualities are intrinsic to our being. By simply becoming aware of love that has infused our lives all along, we can awaken the deepest goodness in ourselves and others. Become conscious of the tremendous capacity for love that permeates our being – open to it, to be healed by its life-giving energy and to participate in its power to renew our world. In a moment of receptivity, the sacred world that was long ignored suddenly unveils itself.

How do we cultivate understanding, love, compassion?  Begin by accepting ourselves, just as we actually are. Know thyself is the first practice of love. This acceptance includes our suffering and happiness at the same time. When we practice, we observe how much peace, and lightness we already have. We notice how much irritation or worry are in us already. As we become aware of feelings inside us, our self-understanding will deepen. We will see how our fears and lack of peace contribute to unhappiness. Thus we will see the value of loving ourselves and of cultivating a heart of compassion.

In the practice of yoga, we recite a Metta prayer, a wish for all beings everywhere seen and unseen, great and small to be happy and free from suffering.  Loving-kindness is the heart of practice. Learning to love life in all its forms and to love unconditionally is the way to liberation.  It is possible for everyone. Begin by looking deeply into your body. Observe your feelings, pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. Peer into the river of feelings and ask what is preventing you from being happy. Practice touching, refreshing and healing elements that are already within you. In doing so, you can become stronger and better able to love yourself and others.

Metta Prayer:

May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself                                                              

May I look at myself with understanding and love                                                                                                               

May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself                                         

May I live fresh, solid and free

We can take the vow of the Bodhisattva (compassionate one) – a gentle yet fearless spiritual warrior who strives unceasingly to help others. Cultivating warmth and acceptance of others and ourselves, we can become more friendly, forgiving and happy. Tibetan Buddhism teaches that everyone you meet, both the wise and the foolish, has something to offer you.  In addition, everyone can learn from your kindness and deserves your kindness.  Be gentle, be kind be thoughtful, be caring, be compassionate, be loving, be reasonable, be generous to everyone – including yourself.   

Metta Prayer:

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.                                                                                

May all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.                                                                                 

May all beings be peaceful, harmonious and at ease, protected from harm and fear.                                                   

May all beings be healed and whole.                                                                                                                    

May all beings awaken from the sleep of delusion.                                                                                          

May all beings be awakened, liberated, delivered and free.

Love is not just a concept but something you are.  Love is being intimate with all things. Whatever strikes your heart with beauty, inspires love. When you surrender to this moment or to something larger than yourself, you can experience love. Use the heart to heal the world and connect with spirit. When we say “open your heart”, we mean feel the warmth of love and maybe a little tenderness or heartache. A genuine heart is raw and beautiful. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart. When you willing to open up without any resistance or shyness, you can face and share the world with others. There is no right way to know love and you will never run out of it. Discover the deep well within your heart connected to the divine source. Love is always in the center of your being, a jewel ready for you to access at any time.