February is the month of LOVE dedicated to Valentine sweet hearts, romance and heart-shaped sweet tarts. A little too commercial and contrived, but a great excuse to show your loved ones how special they are to you.
This Valentine’s Day let’s look at celebrating love through a different set of lenses: through the eyes of yoga. The yoga philosophy teaches us to be compassionate and intimate with ourselves, so we are more mindful of our thoughts and actions and, therefore, can be more loving towards others.
The yamas, the 1st limb of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, are ethical principles that clarify our relationship to our world and everything in it. They emphasize our connection to others as an integral part of yoga, everything is interconnected. The yamas consist of 5 practices:
Satya – honesty
Asteya – not stealing
Bramacharya – the wise use of creative energy
Aparigrahā – non-possessiveness
Inspired by these teachings, here are a few ways you can express your love to yourself and to your beloved this Valentine’s Day:
Be kind to yourself (ahimsā) – Cultivate positive thoughts about yourself, treat yourself to something special for you: a massage or long hot bubble bath. When you make yourself feel good you will be better equipped to make others feel loved.
Truly listen and speak from your heart (satya) – The words you speak have so much power. So speak from your heart in an honest and loving manner and then truly listen to your partner. Try asking your Valentine an intimate question and just listen intently with compassion. This will create a stronger connection to each other.
Give the gift of your time (asteya) – Give your lover your uninterrupted attention. During your Valentine celebration focus on each other, turn all phones off and out of reach, and cherish your time together.
Be respectful with your loved one (bramacharya) – This yama asks that we treat ourselves and each other with respect when using our creative energy, including sexual. Enjoy the romance with love and respect.
Practice giving without expecting anything in return (aparigraphā) - This yama guides us to shift our greed to generosity: instead do something generous for someone else. May we suggest an eco-friendly yoga shirt from our 8 Limbs of Yoga collection?
These gifts are sure to strengthen your connection to your loved one! Challenge yourself to practice these mindful habits on a regular basis.