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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yoga Homework: Acts of Kindness

My yoga teacher invited us to join her in her weekly homework for the next few months. This week, the assignment is based on kindness.

Each day, participants are to work toward the goal of 3 acts of kindness toward others (within their own households, community, the world at large), and 3 acts of kindness toward one's self.

Yoga class counts as 1 act for each category, because the effect it has on us emanates out into the world and creates a positive, energy that affects others.

I took the challenge.

Yesterday, my acts looked like this:


Acts of Kindness Toward Other Beings:

1.) I checked on DJ, the Library Cat...

There is a local cat who lives at the church and library. It got really cold last night (down into the mid twenties), and DJ popped up in my mind. I worried about him. I often go to pet him and bring him food and toys (as do others in the community). 

I stopped by the library and asked about DJ. I was assured that he was seen today, that he is "all good," and that everyone at the library was taking good care of him.


DJ The Library Cat
2.) I fully participated in my yoga class...

This is an act of kindness to others for a number of reasons that I hadn't really considered before. For example, I am much more relaxed and at ease during and after class. My patience and ability to cope with everyday stresses are extended, allowing me to be kind in situations where I might otherwise be less tolerant.  Also, during yoga, I am engaging in symbolic poses that honor the world around me, showing kindness and respect to the wonders found all around and within us. At the end of class, we say "Namaste," which translated loosely from Sanskrit means: "The light in me bows to the light in you."

3.) I made a delicious dinner for my significant other and I...

I've been lazy about cooking lately. I love to go out to eat or grab takeout. Last night, though, I prepared a warm meal for the two of us, all at home. Fortunately, it came out delicious, and my SO, who has been very stressed out lately, told me how much joy he experienced from that meal.


Homecooked Meal that I made



Acts of Kindness Toward Myself:

1.) Listened to soothing music as I drove and while I was cooking...

Music has the power to enhance or shift our moods. I was feeling a mix of emotions and feelings yesterday. I really wanted to tap into the feelings of gratitude and trust in the Universe/God that all is well and that all will be well. I chose music that would support this and indulged in it.


2.) I fully participated in my yoga class...

I listened to my body.  When vinyasas felt like too much, I went straight to downward dog. I felt every twist massaging my organs. I engaged in deep, meditative pranayama breathing. I allowed myself to work hard and to rest. Savasana, as always, was incredibly restoring.  Yoga, for me, is the ultimate act of kindness to the self.


3.) I allowed myself kitty and tv time...

One of my favorite parts of the day is snuggling up with my two cats and watching some of my favorite shows. We often fall asleep because it's so cozy and relaxing. 



What do you think about the idea of this week's homework?  Can you think of at least one kind thing you can do for others and yourself today? Perhaps you've already done them.  Please feel free to share.


"Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi, and change your world." - Annie Lennox


Namaste.
 

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