Looking for a way to deepen your yoga practice? Consider spending just as much time honing your mindfulness practice as you do on your asana practice. Keep an eye out for this new recurring TS blog column, “mindful mOMent” for tips, mantras and exercises to help focus your mind.
Loving kindness meditation: memorizing a mantra and repeating it during your meditation can help to keep your mind focused. Use a loving kindness mantra to share your practice with others.
In honor of the TS book club meeting tonight, try this mantra featured in Stephen Cope’s book, The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living:
May you feel protected and safe.
May you feel contented and pleased.
May your body support you with strength.
May your life unfold smoothly and with ease.
During your meditation, you’ll be repeating this mantra in groups of four and directing it towards different people. Here’s the cycle:
1. Directed towards yourself.
2. Directed towards a beneficiary: someone who could use a little extra love or strength in their life.
3. Directed towards a neutral person: perhaps the Starbucks barista or gentleman standing next to you on the metro.
4. Directed towards a challenging individual: by thinking loving thoughts towards a frustrating co-worker or family member, your energy will help to work through some of the more negative emotions.
OK, time to get started. Begin your mindful practice by finding a comfortable position. Spend a few moments reading the mantra out loud until it is memorized (don’t worry if you have to keep looking back at it to start, it’s long after all!). You can continue repeating out loud if desired or as you continue to say the mantra try to bring the volume of your voice down slowly until you’re not making any audible sounds. At that time, begin repeating the mantra to yourself without moving your lips.
Your mind will wander away from the mantra. The key is to acknowledge the wandering and rein the flowing thoughts back in to focus on the words. If you forget about who you’re supposed to be directing it towards, just start over.
Continue repeating the mantra as long as desired. Maybe start with five minutes, or two if that’s all the time you have. Your body, and mind, will thank you.
Sending loving thoughts to all of you…