Although we have many technological advantages over our ancestors, there is one area in which we are just as vulnerable as they were: the need for love. Whether it’s through romance, friendship, or simple self-care, everyone needs to feel loved. But love doesn’t have to be the result of grand and difficult gestures. With just a simple touch, a hug, or a familiar voice on the phone, we can experience profound feelings of love in our lives.
Your yoga practice can also help you find love - starting with your ability to love yourself. Body & Brain Yoga teaches that a sense of fulfillment grows naturally out of the healthy development of three different aspects of yourself, summed up by the Korean phrase “Jung-choong Ki-jang Shin-myung.” By learning to love and care for these three aspects of yourself you can eventually experience true and unconditional love. In this article, we’ll look at the first two aspects and how they relate to your ability to love.
The essential first step in this process is to gather physical energy - a process of loving and caring for the body. How often have you used your body for comfort or pleasure, rather than considered for what was actually good for your body? Caring for the body starts with “Jung-choong,” meaning physical fullness. It is associated with the strengthening of the lower dahnjon, the second chakra, which helps us maintain physical vitality and emotional balance. Basically, it means being strong and centered with lots of energy. With this condition, you’ll be able to accept love from others and give love in return.
You can get more detailed information on strengthening the second chakra from Healing Chakras: Awaken Your Body's Energy System for Complete Health, Happiness, and Peace
1. Get moving!
Exercise has been shown to diminish feelings of loneliness, produce mood-elevating endorphins, and reduce depression. Hitting the gym a few times a week, going for a walk, stepping onto your yoga mat, and almost any physical activity that you enjoy can help to increase your sense of love and wellbeing.
2. Watch What You Put or Don’t Put in Your Mouth
Don’t punish yourself by overeating, starving yourself, or drinking too much. What goes into your body is incredibly important; from the vitamins and nutrients in your food to the energy it requires to digest it, to the emotional associations you have with eating, your diet can affect many aspects of your life.
3. Get Sleep
Sleep is very important in regulating your mood. Consider creating a regular relaxation or meditation routine to calm your busy mind, increase your sense of peace, and promote deep and restful sleep.
The second step in being able to love yourself is “Ki-jang,” or the purification of emotional energy. Ki-jang is related to the process of healing and strengthening the fourth (or Heart) Chakra for emotional maturity. Emotional maturity is an essential milestone on the path to enlightenment and it also relates to physical vitality. The fourth Chakra is an energetic bridge between body and spirit, and even physical healing may require an improvement in your emotional condition- i.e. finding more love within.
In order to become proactively engaged in your personal growth, it is helpful to develop awareness of your internal environment—what messages and reactions you’ve stored and replayed over the years. When you begin to heal your heart energy you begin to free yourself from painful and debilitating memories and emotional patterns.
For the benefit of the Heart chakra, one of the most important actions is forgiveness. When extended outward, forgiveness can help heal others as well as ourselves. True forgiveness is love in action and it puts us in touch with our authentic power as the creators of our lives, rather than as victims of our circumstances. True self-love, a treasure we can discover within, is reflected in our relationships with others. It is a profound change, but it can begin with a small step.
We all have special people in our lives, whether they are partners, family members, or friends. But as we become preoccupied with checking off the tasks on our daily to-do lists, we sometimes forget to express love. This Valentine’s Day (or every day), try out these Five Ways to Say “I Love You.” Sometimes you won’t even need to use words.
Before you respond to what your loved ones have said, show that you understand and appreciate what they are saying. Listen with patience and trust, no matter what is being said. You won’t lose out on anything, and this will show your partner, family member, or friend that you care about their life and love them.
Even when you’ve hurt or been hurt by others, even without knowing what to say, you can still show them that you care. By offering a hug, placing your hand on their shoulder, or giving their hand a gentle squeeze, you can express that your love is stronger than whatever conflict has arisen between you.
3. Say you’re sorry
Whether or not you think you did something wrong, saying sorry can be a great way to let someone know that you love them. Practice being able to sincerely say you’re sorry without demeaning yourself or feeling guilty. Then you’ll discover the true healing power of the words “I’m sorry.”
4. Watch how they love
Take time to notice how someone else expresses and receives love - each person may do it a little differently. By recognizing and accepting their efforts you can encourage them to express more fully and confidently. You’ll not only receive more love from them but they will likely be more comfortable receiving it from you.
One of the simplest ways we experience joy is when we see someone that we love. Show how happy you are to see them every time, no matter how long it has been. Smile. Don’t assume that they know. Make sure they know. It starts with a big, beautiful smile.
In this article we covered Jung-chong and Ki-jang, the first two steps in caring for and developing yourself. By taking care of your physical and emotional condition, you will be more able to give and receive love with others. It’s a practice that’s well worth your time and effort!