FGK Mindful May: Kindness

by - 11:04 AM

This week the theme I have been working with in my yoga classes is kindness. Being kind to one another, and also being kind to YOURSELF.

This goes along with one of the five yamas, Ahimsa. In sanskrit, Ahimsa translates to "non-violence"; non-harm to others - in other words, universal love.
Practicing ahimsa goes beyond just acts of kindness - it also asks us to maintain kindness in our thoughts. Yoga Journal has a nice description of this:

"To practice ahimsa is to be constantly vigilant, to observe ourselves in interaction with others and to notice our thoughts and intentions. Try practicing ahimsa by observing your thoughts when a smoker sits next to you. Your thoughts may be just as damaging to you as his cigarette is to him."

Being kind to yourself in words and thoughts is just as important as being kind to others.

Being Kind to Yourself

So often we are hard on ourselves - beating ourselves up in thought for not doing something or wishing we had acted in a different way. But all of the living in the past just keeps us there - and does not allow us to progress, grow and change.

As a perfectionist, I can be SO hard on myself sometimes. But when we stop and reflect, maybe it's just the universe looking out for us...

Last night I was heading out to an event, backing out of my SUPER narrow driveway, which I am terrible at. I had to pull forward and straighten out twice and in my head I was going, Ugh you suck. How are you so bad at this? How have you not figured this out by now?

I pulled out, came to the first intersection in our neighborhood which has a two way stop, and a car BLEW through his stop sign and went through my street. I laid on my horn and thought, Oh My God...if I would have been there 5 seconds earlier, he would have completely smashed into my car.

But I wasn't. Because I am so terrible at backing out of my driveway.

Being Kind to Others

One of my favorite quotes here when remembering to treat others with kindness in words is this..."Before you open your mouth, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true?"

I find this goes a long way in sharing potentially hurtful words with others. Practicing ahimsa also means we attempt to stop the harm being caused by others. Being neutral or participating as a standby observer is just as bad as participating in the event itself - this just encourages the harmful behavior to continue.

Kindness comes in actions but also in our thoughts ABOUT others. Referring to the quote earlier - your thoughts become your actions. Even though you may not say out loud what you are thinking, your actions and your energy will speak otherwise.

It can be a difficult practice to ALWAYS think kind thoughts - but I also like this quote for times when you just think, I CANNOT reason with this person:

You don't know that person's full story, what they went through that day, that week, that year. Kindness speaks volumes and will be returned to you tenfold.

Practice Kindness

Two ways to practice kindness the rest of this week and weekend:

  • Compliment or go out of your way to help three strangers. See how you feel.
  • Remove the word "should" from your vocabulary. See how this shifts your perspective in being kind to yourself

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