May all beings be free and safe from harm
May all beings be happy and fulfilled
May all beings be healthy and strong
May all beings have ease and joy in their lives
And be free from suffering.
— Lovingkindness chant
New Year’s, or anytime really, is a good time for metta meditation. The concept of metta is that we direct lovingkindness first toward ourselves and then, expanding outward, towards someone we love, one we are neutral towards, someone we may have conflict with (or who makes us crazy), and ultimately toward all beings everywhere.
It can be as simple as a momentary focused intention in our yoga practice to offer lovingkindness through our efforts, toward someone in our life. Every drop of sweat, each hip-opener, that third backbend.
Ultimately, the most powerful insight that comes from a metta infused yoga practice is the sense of compassion and nonseparateness – of being inclusive rather than exclusive. For a lot of us, past conditioning led us to not trust our capacity to love. Practicing metta opens our hearts wider, reminding us that we can indeed love, both ourselves and others, and that everything comes back to love.
Happy new year and happy new you!