7 comments on “Why Compassion in Community is Important”

Why Compassion in Community is Important

By Silvia Mordini 

“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 12,000 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.

After all, 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 worldwide Yoga Tribe is strong in love but we diminish our power by publicly degrading other styles of yoga that are not our favorite. Picking on yoga styles or schools we don’t like doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t end there. Bad mouthing local teachers, facebook smack talking, instayogi shaming or any time spent degrading those with a different yogic opinion promotes separation.

Instead, I challenge 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 community brings power through connection. And if we lose our compassion, we lose what it means to be human. Remember, Yoga is always about union and bringing us together.

 “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.” Silvia Mordini

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:

  1. cultivate maitri (friendliness) toward pleasure and friends;
  2. karma (compassion) for those who are in pain or suffering (yourself included);
  3. mudita (joy) toward those for whom you are happy and whom you admire;
  4. and upeksanam (equanimity) toward those who have hurt us, or we disagree with.

Starting now, apply these Keys to Happiness and see for yourself how this changes your life!  Within the next 24 hours, choose one tangible action you can take to endorse compassion and decrease turbulance in your 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 Yoga!

Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
Silvia

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9 comments on “5 Ways for Urban Yogis to Live Their Yoga”

5 Ways for Urban Yogis to Live Their Yoga

urban yogiAHIMSA – Yoga Sutra Chapter 2 Verse 35 is one of the five Yamas, which are guidelines for how we can live in harmony with others. A traditional translation of Ahimsa means, “Do not kill or harm other people.” I’ve outlined here a more modern interpretation for today’s urban yogi.

  1. Lovingkindness

Ahimsa means that when connected to our heart we naturally share lovingkindness. Love is active and it is never too late to offer healing through loving thoughts and kind actions towards yourself and others.

  1. Compassion / Connection / Respect

In fact, we have an infinite abundance of compassion out of respect for the connection we have with all other creatures. “The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation. Things you think are separate and different are actually one and the same. We are all one people.” (Avatar) Connecting to others without fear of being judged and dropping our judgment of them helps us expand beyond fear into a place of love and respect.

  1. Safety / Balance / Self-care

Fear feeds violence. Lack of safety makes us afraid (whether its real or imaginary). When we are chronically living from fear we become imbalanced. A return to balanced living is the antidote to violence. However, it requires constant sensitive adjustments to maintain. These come as a result of dedicated self-care. We all grow better in positive energy. Through this we learn the way we treat ourselves will be the way we treat others.

  1. Empathy / Choice / Forgiveness

Practicing empathy helps us to see the other person or situation with kind eyes. It changes the knee jerk reaction of fighting back. As a result we lose interest in justifying our need to be right. Ahimsa is the constant reminder of our freedom to choose between fear or love.

On the mat, we practice choosing love as a visible expression of how we do the poses. Remember your Yoga shouldn’t hurt. It is not a punishment and you are not trying to “win”. At the end of class, during savasana, we forgive ourselves for times we weren’t as compassionate as we could have been. We recognize we are imperfectly perfect, doing the best we can. Forgiving ourselves strengthens our capacity to love the full spectrum of who we are, shadow and light. This builds our empathy muscle and in turn our ability to be more easily forgiving of others off the mat.

  1. Peace

When we live in Ahimsa we’d rather be happy than right. We don’t have to prove ourselves worthy of love, we know we are love (aham prema). Our natural state of peaceful joy is how we are meant to live. It is our birthright; it is everyone’s birthright. As a result, we stop comparing and competing, we start promoting peace in all that we think, say, and do and life feels like we are on easy speed. We are at peace with our pleasure.

My experience of Ahimsa:

Personally the one thing that pulls me out of balance the most easily is over-working or simply over-doing. This inspires fear that I am powerless. As long as I make time to stay balanced by getting enough sleep, meditating daily, practicing yoga, going for walks, drawing, and relaxing then I live my Ahimsa. I’ve come to realize that the antidote is making sure to leave enough open space and free time to equally give my mind, body, and spirit time to rest before they get tired.

Just like anything else the benefits of applying Ahimsa can only be achieved if you actually practice them. Today, before you head out the door to face the day, pick two categories and really commit to creating a new pathway of lovingkindness, compassion, safety, empathy and peace.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
Silvia

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Screen Shot Front Silvia CardEditor’s note: This is another amazing guest post by Daily Cup of Yoga contributor Silvia Mordini, E-RYT, retreat leader, happiness coach, and yogipreneur. 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 spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 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 RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training.

Silvia can be reached on the Web at http://www.alchemytours.com ; or http://www.silviamordini.com, or via email at silvia@alchemytours.com. Twitter: @alchemytours@inspiredyogagal; Facebook: Silvia Mordini; YouTube: lovingyourday; Pinterest: Silvia Mordini; Intagram: alchemytours.

Photo credit: Manduka Yoga on Instagram

1 comment on “Cultivate Compassion to Tame the Ego”

Cultivate Compassion to Tame the Ego

yoga-loft-hawaii

By cultivating friendliness towards happiness and compassion towards misery, gladness towards virtue and indifference towards the wicked the mind becomes pure. ~ Yoga Sutra 1:33

Consider this:

  • A yoga teacher gets a better time slot than you and her class is full when you  arrive to teach the next class.  No one asked you if you’d like the slot and you’ve been teaching at the studio longer…how do you respond?

…The ego loves to feel sorry for itself, loves to make excuses, loves to compare, and is jealous of other’s happiness…

  • A homeless drug addict lives in a tent on the beach, he’s known for stealing, bullying and harming others..

…The ego hates, is disgusted, petrified, and proud that it is better, more humane, more decent…

  • Your friend has been blessed with two beautiful children and is pregnant with another…she is beautiful and in your mind a perfect mother.  You have wanted a baby for a long time but your partner isn’t ready.

…The ego is not joyful that she’s pregnant again, instead the ego is jealous…she already has two and you have none!

  • Someone has it out for you, they just don’t like you and they never did.  There is nothing you can do to make this person like you and they are always finding ways to drag you down, via gossip, text messages, and on those rare occasions when you are around one another, with their attitude.

…The ego may try to kill with kindness out of spite, fuel the fire, and give back a taste of the medicine…

Why is it so hard to truly be content for another when they have been given a great opportunity?  I believe it is because we place too high of a demand on what we consider to be success.  We tend to make excuses to not be compassionate and feed ourselves with lies. We  develop a superiority complex and try to impose our values on others. Although the homeless man is living in misery, why are we not always compassionate towards this situation?

Every day we deal with the ups and downs of life, the constant pull of the need to control not only ourselves but others and their situations. It seems that the ego thinks it’s got it all figured out, every response justified no matter how cruel. I am always amazed by the power of the human mind to rationalize thoughts that we know are wrong and unmerited.

The Yoga Sutras can keep us in check, on track and call us to examine ourselves. Let us practice, meditate, pray and strive to have a pure mind, especially in our relationships with others by “cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil...”  (Yoga Sutra 1:33).

One way to accomplish this is by taking a moment whenever we feel the ego grow dispassionate to own our feelings and then release them. One can also recite the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

God help us in our journey.

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lisa Sochocki from Haleiwa, Hawaii.  Her motto is, “Be the light, to light the world.” Lisa’s motto runs true to her actions and spirit, living the life of a yogini filled with love and abundance. With 17 years of yoga experience and 11 years as a devoted Yoga Instructor, Lisa decided to make spreading yoga not only her passion, but her full-time job. Lisa is the Owner of Yoga Loft Hawaii  and Hawaii School of Yoga, where she spends her days diffusing yoga love into the Oahu community.

Visit Lisa’s website at YogaLoftHawaii.comHawaiiSchoolOfYoga.com read her Tumblr Blog, or connect with her via Facebook and Instagram.

Photo credit: Camillia Lee