Yoga, Compassion, & Tolerance – Part 2
This is the second part of two-part post on the topic of Yoga, Compassion, & Tolerance. Read part 1 here.
In the Yogasūtra, Patañjali states:
This sutra came one sūtra after the famous sūtra about āsana; sthira-sukham-āsanam (yogasūtra 2:46).
The meaning of this sutra is:
(As a consequence of āsana practice), we are undisturbed by life’s dualities.
= equanimity, one can tolerate more.
This was what I experienced personally. Back in 2005, when I just started practicing yoga, I didn’t know about anything else except āsana. I experienced the physical benefits, healthier body, feeling good, and so on, but I also experienced the non-physical benefits. I found myself much calmer, not as reactive, have more clarity, and this helped me progressed in my corporate career (and eventually switched to teaching yoga full time). This was one of the cause that made me get into yoga; yoga transformed me not just physically, but as a whole person.
The key to live in peace, according to Patañjali
In the first chapter, Patañjali presents four attitudes that we can adopt so that we can live in peace.
maitrī karuṇā muditā upekṣāṇāṁyogasūtra 1:33
sukha duḥkha puṇya apuṇya viṣayāṇāṁ
bhāvanātaḥ citta prasādanam
This sūtra says:
Cultivate loving-kindness to those who are happy;
Compassion to those who are suffering;
Empathethic joy to those who are noble;
And equanimity to those who are ignoble;
These will lead to a peaceful mind.
This four attittudes are also known as the Brahmavihara, also known as The Four Immeasureables.
- maitrī: loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence
- karuṇā: compassion
- muditā: empathetic joy
- upekṣā: equanimity, non-judgement.
Compassion in Practice: Metta Meditation
In the webinar, I guided a practice called Metta Meditation, where we cultivate the feeling of loving kindness and compassion, firstly to ourself, and then expand it to others, and eventually including all beings.
Compassion and tolerance begins with ourself. Yoga practice makes one more in tune with oneself, thus more in tune to others, able to feel what other person is feeling. This is empathy, which is the base of compassion and tolerance. In the yogasūtra, tolerance (equanimity) is mentioned as a benefit of āsana practice, in sūtra 2:48. Compassion is mentioned in sūtra 1:33, karuṇā, along with three other attitudes: loving-kindness (maitrī), muditā (empathetic joy), and upekṣā (equanimity/tolerance, again.)