Yoga Poses for Compassion, Create Compassion in Heart
The word compassion literally means “ suffer together” or to experience someone else’s suffering with your own body and mind. This is only possible if we consider another being as one with us, or we are united with every other element composing the universe. Union is another word which defines Yoga. Yog, the Sanskrit word stands for unite, or physical and psychological oneness between two entities. Compassion is also one of the Parikarmas essential for maintaining mental hygiene as enumerated by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras.
As per yoga all suffering begins with the feeling of being a separate entity, all pain vanishes with the realization that everything is one. Yoga is nothing but is one of the paths to reach this realization. Most of my students fall short of words when asked to explain how they feel after an hour of any of our intensely structured yoga classes. Nice, happy, relaxed, rejuvenated, calmer are the terms that drip out their lips at the most. True, all these terms expressed are the genuine feeling they experience, but why were they not feeling this way up till the yoga class had begun? The simple answer to this is that before the Yoga class began they were all islands in themselves, by the time the yoga class ended all these islands had merged with the larger space known as universal existence.
When the ego (Asmita) holds us separate from everything beyond our real self, the entire burden of making that individual existence possible triggers a defense response leading to some negative tendencies: manipulative, judgmental , inability to trust, non belief in love . This tendency to hold one separated supported by the negative tendencies is the cause of all the suffering we experience. The moment we release the hold of ego on this individuality we merge, become open to the experience of universal existence. This experience is of merging, flowing into and with everything around you, the feeling of an individual stream merging with the ocean by losing its identity relieves us of the burden of carrying ourselves as individuals. This release is what induces the feeling expressed in different ways by my students after every Yoga class reaches its denouement.
How Yoga for Campassion Works?
Physically the feeling of compassion and love is seated in the heart also known as the Anahata Chakra. Yoga for compassion through its various techniques can influence this seat of love and compassion towards positivity. From the body reading’s point the size, more so the ability of the chest to expand outwards is linked to the person’s ability to open up to the world outside, which is crucial to merging oneself to the universe around and letting the universe inside one’s own self. Yoga asanas, especially the one’s which bend the spine backwards throw the chest out exercising the muscular web around it. The more the chest can expand outward the open your mind becomes leading to positivity. These yoga poses for compassion also enhances the ability to accept the present as it is in the person.
The Yoga techniques are so structured that every alignment directly influences a corresponding center of the brain responsible for a particular bodily or psychological function in one’s personality. Yoga asanas and pranayamas inherently train the brain to be in the present. This intensifies the feeling of experiencing certain emotions within oneself; love and compassion being among them. When the mind is focused, it becomes less scattered and is able to concentrate, and feel more of the immediate, basic experiences which intensifies them further. The mind can be trained to focus by practicing certain simple concentration enhancing techniques. Yoga balances the energy at the cluster of nerves ( chakra) at the heart region creating more space for the positive feelings like compassion and love to rise to the surface.
Ashtanga Yoga is a eight step path towards merging ( yog) the individual mind to the universal mind. All these steps are placed in a sequence of refining the individual soul, from gross to the subtlest, preparing it for the merger with the universal soul. Ahimsa, self-love are some of the attributes which form important steps on this path. Cultivating ahimsa (nonviolence towards oneself and others) and self-love within oneself creates compassion and love for others on its own.
The number of Yoga techniques which are given below definitely turns one’s personality towards being more compassionate and loving to self and the world around.
The Yoga for Compassion and Love