A Kindness Experiment

As the holiday season approaches, we can often find ourselves overwhelmed by deadlines, gift lists, and financial or family pressures.  The busyness of our days and intensity of our efforts can be all consuming and lead us to forget why it is we are doing it all and what the true meaning is behind our efforts.

Our practice of iRest-Yoga Nidra, Yoga or Meditation can be a time to tune in and re-orient to our heart felt intentions and desires for these holy days and thereby imbue our actions with deeper meaning and purpose.

I often draw upon the wisdom of the Brahma Vihara’s or 4 Great Attitudes from sutra 1.33 of the classic yogic text, the Yoga Sutras.   They inform us that by cultivating attitudes of kindness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and disregard toward the non-virtuous, the mind retains its undisturbed calmness.

This seems a worthy experiment at the least and a possible antidote or “immune booster” for a malaise of stress, anxiety or depression.  The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying my religion is kindness and offers the invitation to be kind when ever possible, it is always possible.  These are simple words with the potential for profound personal and global impact.

I think of kindness as a beneficent virus; highly infectious, while quickly altering the milieu of it’s host.  You might recall how a kind act of generosity or affection shifted your perspective or actions, or a time when someone’s smile or laughter evoked a similar response.

A “Kindness Experiment” is a win-win proposition.   There is much evidence that reveals the health inducing benefits of kindness and it’s accompanying emotions of friendliness, happiness and compassion that include improved immune function, lowered inflammation, pain reduction and slowing the impact of aging.  Both the giver and receiver glean the benefits.

Sutra 1.33 also points to the undisturbed calm or equanimity that is always at hand as the underlying ground of Being.  Kindness isn’t only a potential precursor to this abiding calm but can also be experienced as a perfume or shine that our Being or Presence gives off.

May the kindness virus find its way fully into your heart and shine as an infectious, infinite light over the holidays and always.

With great kindness and love,


If you would like to learn more about iRest – Yoga Nidra, Anne Douglas is offering an iRest® Level I Training at Yoga for Today, May 1-6, 2018.  www.irest.us or click here for training details (to YfT).  Anne Douglas is a Master Teacher of 28 years.  Her wise, joyful and compassionate manner provides inspired ground for learning.


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