As the Beatles sang “All you need is love “
In yoga love is everything – they key to enlightenment, nirvana, samadhi – complete bliss. But this is not just a fluffy, hippie notion science can prove as humans we need love and human connection.
Our biggest problem is that we are always looking to external sources to bring us happiness, love, joy – instead of cultivating these feelings within us, not for any gain but to become a better version of ourselves. In turn this happiness spreads and radiates out to everyone we encounter. You know what its like when you feel unhappy & miserable it seems to affect everyone around you making them feel the same, often worse.
B.K.S Iyengar one of modern yoga’s greatest teachers said
“You have to create love and affection for your body, for what it can do for you,” Mr Iyengar says. “Love must be incarnated in the smallest pore of the skin, the smallest cell of the body, to make them intelligent so they can collaborate with all the other ones, in the big republic of the body. This love must radiate from you to others. Practitioners of the asanas alone often forget that yoga is for cultivating the head and the heart.”
In yoga there are four main paths, and one of those paths is Bhakti yoga – the yoga of love & devotion. In ancient texts of yoga this love is for the divine whatever you perceive that to be – a god of your choosing, nature, family, friends.
“That one I love who is incapable of ill will, who is friendly and compassionate. Living beyond the reach of “I “and “mine” and of pleasure and pain, contented, self – controlled, firm in faith, with all their heart and all their mind given to me – with such as these I am in love” – The Bhagavad Gita
In our yoga practice we can cultivate these feeling by focusing on them when we practice physically and by being kind and loving to ourselves and not pushing ourselves into poses that cause us pain. In our meditation practice we can focus on feelings of love, compassion and gratitude to others we care about or may be struggling to get along with.
This stuff isn’t easy but it’s a work in progress and just by recognising it you ae halfway there -you are waking up, while everyone else is still asleep or clinging onto material things to bring them joy. However, love is an important part of yoga and just as you practice the other elements that make up this wonderful practice you must also practice love, kindness, compassion & gratitude. As the ancient texts say, “practice all is coming” and as the Beatles sang – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
The soul doesn’t know love- it is love itself
The soul doesn’t know – it is knowledge itself
The soul doesn’t exist – it is existence itself
Patanjali – Quoted by George Harrison in his final album