As the Coronavirus pandemic continues and the UK recently announced further quarantine measures to prevent a second wave, we are aware of the effects that isolation can have on mental health. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week in May was kindness.
We all know that showing kindness is important for human connection and our relationships, for mental health and wellbeing. And we have seen the display of kindness and appreciation, and heard heart-warming stories across the nation.
Yoga is particularly important right now for coping in this crisis, but it is much more than practising postures on the mat. TKV Desikachar often emphasised that Yoga is Relationship and that the success of our yoga practice lies in the quality of our relationships with the people around us.
अहिंसासत्यास्तेय ब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहाः यमाः
For my yoga classes I have taken the theme Ahimsa, the Sanskrit word for kindness, non-harming. Desikachar described Ahimsa as “Consideration of all living things, especially those who are innocent, in difficulty, or worse off than we are”.
Ahimsa is the first of the five Patañjali’s Yamas (Yoga Sūtra II.30). The Yamas are moral values to live by and they are universal principles common to great religions and philosophies.
Ahimsa is respect for life and therefore very relevant and pertinent to the world we live in right now. You may want to include the mantra “Stay Home, Stay Safe and now Stay Alert” in your practice.
So, be kind in thought, speech, and spread some kindness to others (and to yourselves!).