the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
Stuart Smalley (Saturday Night Live) once said, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.” He may have been a fictional character, but Stuart embodied much of what we do not – he accepted himself as Stuart with all the imperfections and faults. He fully supported himself and loved himself unconditionally.
Oh, how it would feel if we gave our self the same love and affection. If we allowed our imperfections to be seen as gems that make us special and unique. If we could turn off the negative voice and have that encouraging and loving one instead. If we could feel truly, completely accepted and did not have to hide any part of our self.
However, if we are to show that same unconditional love to others, we must first start with our self. We are the practice.
Practice a variation of Loving + Kindness meditation. We’ve learned that loving + kindness mediation (metta bhavana meditation) is a practice of cultivating love for our self and then towards others. As you find a comfortable seat, repeat these phrases.
Hear these phrases. Notice their vibration. What images, thoughts and emotions come to the surface? After practicing this variation for a week, change “I” with a neutral person and then with someone you have difficulties with.
As you practice compassion, you’ll notice on the mat a more mindful flow. When you listen, you honor, and with honor you begin to drop the judgment and critical voice that pushes you into injury.
Off the mat, your respect for yourself projects onto others. There is calmness and compassion is the way you react to situations and conversations. Your critical inner voice quiets and allows you to love others unconditionally.