LOVE can take different forms – Love of a mother, Love in relationships, Love for God, Love for your passion, Love for Life!
My Love for yoga has increased over the years. There is a good reasoning behind it. Yoga has actually shown me what pure love is.
If we decide to go deeper into yoga, do you think that it is all about doing super advanced hand stands and twisting the body in unimaginable ways? These are only physical forms of advancement. They do have a good impact on the mind, however, they do not mean that you have reached the heights of Yoga. So what does it take to go deeper into Yoga? We will have to start following, or at least try to follow some parts of Ashtanga yoga (The eight limbs of yoga as described by Sage Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras). Since we are talking about Love here, let us take a deeper look into “Ahimsa” (Non-violence) which is a sub category of “Yamas”, one of the eight limbs of yoga.
A person following ahimsa abandons all Hatred and animosity from their hearts. What remains is pure love. The feelings of Love and compassion occur naturally for a true yogi. But for common people like us, we need to take some steps to develop it. We need to train our minds to think positively. We need to develop these feelings of Love and compassion. Where do we start?
- First of all, start watching your thoughts. Become a witness to your thoughts. You will be surprised how easily your mind can get into a trap of continuous rolling of negative thoughts. These negative thoughts could be anything from holding a grudge against someone, feelings of hatred, jealousy, greed or anger. Remember that these feelings are against ahimsa or non-violence. I will write later about how you can hurt yourself by these feelings. When you start watching your thoughts, surprisingly it is easier to pin point the source of your negative thoughts.
- Next, stop it right there! Clean your consciousness of any thoughts for the next few seconds and then…
- Move away from it. Now you have a free mind that can be used for more positive thoughts, and in turn – actions.
- Once you get the hang step 1, then you start increasing the frequency witness, stop, clean cycle in your day. Just these simple steps alone can make a huge difference to your day.
- Then comes practice. As you would have heard many times, “practice makes perfect”. So try to continue doing steps 1 to 4 in every opportunity you get.
The opposite of love is HATRED. What does the feeling of hatred do to your mind and body?
“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” – The Buddha
“It is impossible to hurt someone without hurting yourself” – Amma
Your mind constantly needs something to munch on. If left uncontrolled, the feelings of hatred start becoming a habit to your mind. This makes the person filled with negativity. In a hormonal level, more of the poison cortisol is released by the Adrenal glands. Now the body gets more defensive and a gush of hormones rushes to the brain to tackle this increased level of cortisol. Now the body is left with dealing all these hormones! The increased cortisol level increases the likelihood of cholesterol deposit in the body. Hence there is an increase in the risk of Heart disease, obesity, and Stroke. The negative feelings also has a tendency to push the person into depression. Hatred starts with one seed of negative thought, and slowly it can grow into a tree if not controlled. An unwanted tree in this case.
Now let’s see an example of James. James has a bad day at work. His boss was a bully and spoke bad of him in front of other colleagues. James comes home. He sits in his couch and wants to relax. THEN his minds starts thinking – thinking and re-enacting the incident that happened that day. Even though the incident happened during the day, since James is re-enacting it in his mind, the same stress hormones are released in his body and now James’s body has to tackle these hormones once again! Wait a minute; I thought James was relaxing in his couch? Do you see that James has now doubled his stress? He has started holding a grudge against his boss and now he is hurting his body.
LOVE on the other had has an opposite effect to your body and mind. The feelings of Love and compassion increase the happy hormones in your body. They have a healing effect on your heart. These feelings also increase the parasympathetic dominance of your body, allowing it to heal at a cellular level.
So the message for today is LOVE more; HATE less”. Live your life to its true potential.
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