In English we use the word love to describe feelings toward a variety of people, things, and situations. For example:
I love my spouse.
I love my parents.
I love my friends.
I love yoga.
I love chocolate.
I love to travel.
And yet if you really think about the feeling you might be having in each one of those situations, it is not exactly the same. The “love” you feel for your spouse isn’t usually the same as what you feel for a hobby or favorite food, for example.
Many other languages in the world have more than word for love. For example, the Greek languages has four main words for love – one for romantic love, one for spiritual or charitable love, one for the affection between parents and their children, and one for non-romantic love (think friends and other members of your family).
And the Greek language is not alone. Japanese has two main words for love, Arabic has at least eleven words, and Spanish has three words meaning to love. I could go on, but I think you get my point. So many ways to express such a beautiful feeling.
Sanskrit, the classical language of India and the language of yoga, is reported to have over 90 words meaning love. Is it any wonder then that yoga is said to help you cultivate more love in your heart? Yoga itself means union, specifically referring to the union of the body and mind. Practicing yoga, especially heart-opening poses like Fish pose, Camel pose, and Bridge pose, allows your body and mind to connect more deeply. It can open you up to more feelings of love for yourself, your body, others, and the planet as a whole. When we feel more complete, more whole, in ourselves and when we feel love for ourselves, it is truly possible for us to share that love with others.
So, in this month celebrated as the month of love, consider what ways you will deepen your love for yourself so that you can love more deeply overall. Namaste.