“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama
I’ve practiced yoga for over 15 years. I’ve taught more than 11,000 hours and since my very first teacher training, my goal has always been to teach what I practice and to practice what I teach. Through the years of practicing with different teachers, it has become clear to me that creating a compassionate yoga community requires that we take responsibility for ourselves. Afterall, our actions, thoughts and words impact the connections we have with those around us. Just as positive energy creates more positive energy, the inverse is also true.
Our bigger American Yoga Kula is strong in love but we diminish our power by publicly degrading other styles of yoga that are not our favorite. Picking on Bikram or Anusara doesn’t help anyone, and it doesn’t end there. We also diminish our power by bad mouthing other teachers, Facebook sharing smack talking yoga articles that focus on different opinions in regard to yoga videos and naked yoga ads, and by instayogi shaming and promoting separation of any kind.
Instead, I challenge all of us to soften to the diversity amongst yogis and the varied ways we practice. If, in a well-sequenced class, we can thrive in movement through forward folds, backbends, twists and balances, why can’t we find compassion to get along with different groups of yogis as well? Compassionate communities bring power through connection, and if we lose our compassion, we lose what it means to be human.
It doesn’t matter how many hours you practice yoga or meditate by yourself, the union of being in relationship with others is what heals the world. Yoga teaches us that isolation is the root cause of suffering and connection is the essence of healing.
In the Yoga Sutras, Pantanjali gives us a four-part process to help us clear our hearts of any negative energy. It becomes a means for quieting our minds and reconnecting to the deepest reservoirs of unconditional love and compassion.
The sutras advise that we cultivate maitri (friendliness) toward pleasure and friends, karma (compassion) for those who are in pain or suffering (yourself included), mudita (joy) toward those for whom you are happy and whom you admire, and upeksanam (equanimity) toward those who’ve hurt you, or who you disagree with.
Starting now, apply these keys to happiness and see for yourself how they change your life.
Within the next 24 hours, choose one tangible action that you can take to endorse compassion and decrease turbulance in your local yoga community. From that spark of momentum, let this set the intention for you to keep taking positive action after action to encourage peaceful union in American Yoga.
Favorite Quotes on Compassion
1. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. “ Dalai Lama
2. “Make no judgements where you have no compassion.” – Anne McCafrey
3. “As great scientists have said and as all children know, it is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception, and compassion, and hope.” – Ursula LeGuin
4. “At the end of the day, love and compassion will win.” – Terry Waite
5. “Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer
6. “Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” – Confucius
7. “Yoga is about compassion and generosity towards others. It means being mindful of the world around us.” – Christy Turlington
8. “You may call God love, you may call God goodness, but the best name for God is compassion.” – Meister Eckhart
9. “Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy.” – Chogyam Trungpa
10. “Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” – Mason Cooley
Silvia Mordini: Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia. Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats – spiritually uplifted! Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and a spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for nine years, and after being run over by a car, used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia leads Alchemy Tours Yoga Retreats and Alchemy of Yoga RYT 200 Yoga Teacher Training.
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