Ellen stopped by today (via an article in the Good Housekeeping Magazine, September 2017) to share some of her lessons on kindness. This is resonating with me this week as I think about ways to help others locally and far away. In my yoga classes, I’ve been sharing Metta Meditations on kindness and compassion. If these meditations are all you feel that you can give at this time, that is still making a positive impact on others, as you carry them in your heart and throughout your day. Ellen’s Kindness Lessons #1 Just Be Nice (Golden Rule) #2 Stay True to Yourself #3 Never Let Bullies Win #4 Find a Way to Forgive #5 Set a Good Example #6 Make Time for Those You Love #7 Live Your Passions #8 Do What Scares You #9 Love Who You Are Metta Meditation Here are a few versions of practicing loving kindness and gratitude to others. Don’t forget yourself as you repeat these affirmations.
Waking this morning, I smile
A brand new day is before me.
I aspire to live each moment mindfully.
And to look upon all beings
with the eyes of kindness and compassion.
May you, and all other beings, be happy and
free from suffering.
Or meditate and reflect upon your heart, acknowledge how it feels (open/closed, receptive/defensive). Repeat this Metta verse.
May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be safe from harm
May I enjoy happiness and the root of happiness
May I experience ease and wellbeing in my mind, body and spirit
And after your asana/yoga practice, sit quietly and send affirmations to your heart, someone close to you, someone you have difficulty with, all beings everywhere.
Benefits: counteracts the slumped position of our posture from sitting, computer use, driving, everyday activities. Opens the chest to help breathe easier. Improves digestion, reduces fatigue and can lift your mood.
Just like a babbling brook with boulders (soft ones!), imagine your body like the soft rushing waters laying over those boulders, smooth, flowing. It will allow the natural curves of the body to be held up gently and the breath to flow.
On your mat, place the bolster will your knees will be, one blanket rolled up where the bra line is (base of scapula), a block for the feet or the heels can come to the floor and a neck roll for the cervical spine. Shoulders rest on the floor, arms to side with palms facing up. If ankles need support, use rolled-up blanket or dish towel. Eye pillows can lightly rest on eyes or even be used on forehead (useful for headaches) or even on shoulders (wherever you need to release tension). To begin with stay in pose for 10 minutes working up to 20 minutes. Great to use in savasana. Feel the heart open, the strain from holding yourself up all day evaporate.
Variations: Feeling cranky in the lumbar spine? Place blanket to fill the curves. Want to feel more grounded while still opening the heart? Place rolled up blanket against wall and soles of feet touching blanket. Need to feel cuddled? Swaddle your head in a blanket cradle.
Supported Forward Fold with Chair or Bolsters
Benefits: great transition for decompressing the mind and body. Energy flow to the urinary tract, digestive and reproductive organs. Relaxes the back and releases tension in the neck. Props: bolster, 3 blankets or 1 blocks (firm cushions and pillows are always an option)
Place a block at lowest height and rest the bolster on it horizontally. Sit on a blanket in front of the props and swing your legs over top of the bolster. Adjust the height of the set-up to fit your legs. If your feet do not reach the floor, add a blanket or block. Before folding over the bolster, extend the spine on an inhale and then fold over. Rest hands either on the bolster or on the floor. Add support under arms and wherever else needed. Forehead rests on bolster maybe adding a neck roll. Stay for 5-10 minutes.
Grounded Cuddled and Cradled (Savasana)
Props: enough blankets to cover, ground and cradle the head, eye pillow Benefits: Comforting, supportive, keeps warmth in , grounding to feel head cradled and feet touching the wall or blanket, relaxes musculature and pelvis, gentle chest opener and lengthens spine and legs. Facing wall place a rolled up blanket against wall which feet will rest on. Add any blankets to support low back and arms. Cover your body with a blanket for warmth. The head cradle is made using a blanket tucked around the crown of the head. Add an eye pillow.