honesty & kindness

I hope you are having a great month so far. The past month I have been focusing on the discernment we gain from practicing the 8 limbs of Yoga. The first limb, the yamas, has 5 observances for dealing with our outer world or in other words, our relationships. The two that I have spent a lot of time on in my personal and professional work and still have to constantly cultivate in order to maintain balance is that of honesty (satya) and kindness (ahimsa). They are the very first limb of the 8 limbs, and the very first two of the yamas, therefore there must be something to them. If we really want to advance our practice, this is a great place to start!

Part of our practice is to help us discover ourselves, to learn what it is we want and what is true for us, who we really are. We do work to open up our communication channel so that we can express our truth out into the world.

Then, there’s the seemingly opposite quality which is actually just the other side of the same coin and that is kindness: do no harm. Often times the truth hurts…and bad! Expressing the the truth with no balance of kindness can lead to hurt feelings, broken hearts, lowered self-esteem and more.

So we need kindness to balance the honesty. However, we can be too kind which is harmful to ourselves and ultimately to others as well. For example, if we sacrifice honesty (I am running late, I have a huge deadline at work, I have to pick up my child) for kindness (sure, I’ll take you to the airport, no problem even though I don’t actually have the time) it can lead to feelings of resentment which is ultimately not kind at all and because we are not being honest, we are missing the mark on both counts and are hurting ourselves in the process.

So, how do we find the balance? Practice! It is the only way. We may not get it right the 1st time or the 1000th time, but regardless, it is important to keep at it. We get better at what we practice. It can be helpful to work with someone to help with your communication style. I have been at this for many years and am nowhere near perfect and am still applying effort in this direction. However, I have experienced a lot of progress, so I keep at it. I am committed to never giving up even when it doesn’t work out the way I intended.

Our physical yoga practice is a great place to start by being kind to our bodies, honoring our limitations, being honest about what we want and kind about the way we go about getting it. By listening to our breath and being honest about its cues. By making sure we do no harm to ourselves in poses. By staying true to ourselves while offering kindness to others, doing no harm in the pursuit of our truth. We just practice and trust that regardless of all the obstacles that try to sway us from our path that the continued effort is well worth it and will get easier.

We have lots of great workshops coming up at Yoga Blend…please check it all out here!

With infinite love and gratitude…