Ahimsa: Being Compassionate Towards Yourself is Good for Your Body

I am just now getting back into my regular practice after a few weeks break.

At the end of April, I got really sick.  I ended up having a reaction to the medication I was taking, which, of course, required MORE medication, which kept me out of commission for several weeks by the time the whole adventure was tallied up.

Over those weeks, I my body was sick and tired, and my brain was in a massive fog from the fatigue and all the drugs I was taking.  It just wasn't possible for me to keep up my regular asana and dance practice during this time.  I must admit, it wasn't easy to back off when I am so used to being physically active.  Since I am an instructor, it is especially important for me to take a break when I need to so that I can heal completely and quickly. I would do a disservice to myself and my students by attempting to lead a class when my physical and mental resources are tapped.

It's so important to listen to your body!  If you're sick and you push through practice anyway, you can stir up those germs and make yourself feel even worse.  Likewise, if you're injured, you can inhibit your body from completely healing.  By taking care of your body, you're practicing ahimsa by being compassionate towards yourself.  Give yourself permission to pamper yourself until you are able to be 100% present in your asana practice.

As for me, I am happy to report that I am back to my normal activity level and have renewed joy in my asana practice because I missed it so much!

I'm including information about the Metta meditation, also known as the Loving-Kindess meditation.  This is a really lovely and simple meditation to practice to develop compassion towards yourself and towards others.

Guided Metta Meditation (audio file and transcript)
Facets of Metta, an excerpt of the book, Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.