Last night I taught my power yoga class at the Y. Since it's Valentine's Day today, I thought I should have a related theme so I incorporated metta or lovingkindness ideas from a Yoga Journal article into the practice.
As the article suggested, we began in a Supta Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose). Unfortunately the YMCA doesn't have bolsters, so I asked people to bring their shoulders in and underneath and lift their chests to open their hearts while having an awareness of their heart center and the feelings that arise there. Then I asked them to set the intention of acting with metta towards themselves throughout the practice - to give unconditional love and nurturing to themselves and to send thoughts of metta directly to "problem" areas when having trouble with a specific posture.
We flowed through our practice and performed postures to lift our hearts, like airplane or Warrior III (I always remind them to puff up their chests like in updog), modified camel and bridge. At the the close of class, we held our hands in the receiving mudra. I learned it from another teacher; place one hand in a bowl-like shape, palm up underneath the belly button. Then place your other hand on top of it in the same way. As we held this mudra, I guided my students to allow themselves to receive all the metta we created during our practice.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the class, but it really hit me when I got into my car. I felt so much happiness and love and felt really connected to my baby. I ended up having my first long and meaningful conversation with my baby. I also felt really confident I would be a strong and loving mother and that we will enjoy journey together.
On this Valentine's Day, try giving and receiving some metta of your own.
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