Maitri. This Sanskrit word (pronounced my-tree) translates simply as “friendship and goodwill.” A deeper meaning, however, is “unconditional friendliness towards one’s own experience.” On this Valentine’s Day, I invite you to practice maitri by starting with YOU, being your own best friend and supporter.
Begin by noticing times when you’re being self-critical or negative. Just be aware…without judgment. Then ask yourself, how is this serving me? (Hint: it ain’t.)
Sit with the notion that you are doing the best you can – especially now, during such challenging times. Smile. Inhale and silently say, “I am…” exhale and say, “enough.” No story, no drama. “I am enough.” Continue for several more deep breaths, welcoming self-acceptance with each inhalation and releasing self-criticism with each exhalation. Gently opening your heart by embracing yourself first allows you to then truly embrace others with compassion, kindness and unconditional love.
If, like many of us, you’re experiencing hug deprivation, try this maitri exercise: Extend both arms in front of you at shoulder level, palms facing in; bend your elbows, bringing each hand to the opposite shoulder (wherever you can reach with comfort)…and give yourself a nice, big hug!
- Sit in any comfortable position, eyes closed or downcast.
- Bring hands to the center of the chest in Namasté (prayer position).
- Inhale deeply. Exhale, while repeating, “I trust my heart.”
- Repeat for several breaths.
- Lower your hands and focus on the healing emerald green light of your heart center as it fills your being and connects to universal loving energy.
- Releases emotional wounds stored in the heart center
- Reduces respiration and heart rate
- Calms and clears the mind
- Promotes grounding and sense of profound physical connection
- Brings you back to the present
“Loving starts with the self.” – Wayne Dyer