Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kindness: the ultimate renewable resource

Kindness feels good. It is contagious and totally renewable. There are scientific studies done about the health benefits of kindness. Endorphins are released and stress-related health problems improve after you perform an act of kindness.

There is a true story about a man that held a sign on a busy street corner saying, "Free Hugs". At first people passed him by pretending not to notice. But then one tiny woman stopped to tell him how her dog had just died that morning. How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. So they hugged and she smiled.

That first hug turned into an outpouring of people hugging. The feeling seemed to grow after that first hug. At one point the police stopped the hugging, tried to fine the man holding the "Free Hug" sign and ban the public act of free hugging. But after 10,000 signatures were collected on a petition, free hugs were reinstated. People want to hug and connect with each other.

Being kind includes being kind to yourself even when no one else is involved. Kindness comes from love. If we can support ourselves with kindness and self-love, we will have the willingness and openness to practice kindness as a habit that comes almost without thinking. Just a generous smile to a stranger could brighten their day.

Practicing yoga is an act of kindness to our bodies, minds and spirit if we practice in a mindful way. We need to embrace ourselves lovingly. Being unkind to our bodies even in yoga can lead to injury. So let kindness guide your actions. We want to practice in a way that feels good and not forceful. Kindness involves sensitivity and compassion. So we practice yoga by hugging our muscles to the bone as a gentle embrace. The hugging action is contractive but the feeling created is expansive. There is power in softness. There is power in kindness. And it is a resource we can never run out of.

No comments:

Post a Comment