Do you feel that? Can you hear that? The Universe is asking each of us to emanate more love, right now. Answer this call by infusing your yoga practice with Metta and connect that innate place of loving-kindness that exists within your soul.
The Foundations of Metta:
In the oldest forms of Buddhism, Metta, a word translated as "love" or, more often, "loving-kindness." Metta is not emotional attachment, passion, or sentimentality; it's not laced with desire or possessiveness. Rather, Metta is a kind of unconditional well-wishing, an openhearted nurturing of ourselves and others just as we all are. And—most crucially—it's a quality that can be methodically cultivated through formal practice.
In traditional Metta meditation, we systematically offer loving-kindness to ourselves and others through the silent repetition of statements. We begin by offering Metta to ourselves: “May I be safe. May I be healthy. May I be joyful. May I be free.” We then extend the same wishes to others: first a dear friend or benefactor; then to someone whom we don’t know, then someone who we find particularly challenging in our lives. Ultimately, we extend Metta to all beings everywhere, in an expansive blessing that takes in everyone and everything.
Practicing Metta on Your Mat:
To invite more Metta into our yoga practice, take five or 10 minutes when you arrive onto your mat and hold yourself in the embrace of loving awareness. Take the time to notice—without judgment—the emotional weather in our hearts and the precise physical sensations that accompanied it.
Next, set an intention to move through our yoga with loving-kindness. You can create your own or choose a classic Metta phrase: May all beings experience deep peace." Once you have found an intention that resonates with you, begin to coordinate your breath cycles with your Metta mantra. For example, inhale when you say softly, “May all beings.” Then exhale as your think quietly, “Experience deep peace.” Next, link your breath cycles and your mantra with your movement (Sun Salutations is a great sequence, to begin with!) Your thoughts, intentions, and actions have a rippling effect! You're that pebble that is tossed into the pond; you have the power to change the waves of energy.