Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The practice of yoga isn't just another form of exercise - another way of "working out."  Yoga encompasses much more than just the physical poses we do in class. It also encompasses a system of beliefs - not religious beliefs - but beliefs about how we present ourselves and operate in the world - how we treat ourselves and how we treat others.

Karuna is the Sanskrit word for Compassion. In yogic philosophy, it is one of the Four Brahma Viharas, also known as the Four Divine Emotions, which are essentially principles for engaging in the world in ways that will result in contentment and happiness. The other principles are:

Metta: Loving kindness toward ourselves and others
Mudita: Sympathetic Joy (being happy for others)
Upekkha: Equanimity (acceptance and contentment)

A person who practices compassion - Karuna - is one who has an open and emphathetic heart that cares for everyone.  


  1. What a beautiful post! I love how you describe compassion. I have never heard it called Karuna, but it does sound kind of like Karen so I think I like it! And I will remember that.

  2. Karen, thank you! And yes, it sounds like Karen..there are a lot of lovely principles in yogic philosophy, I have a couple more coming up. M

  3. I think that picture is one of the best I have seen depicting compassion.

  4. Thanks Plain Jane - I liked it too. In restorative yoga (my specialty) sometimes we cradle the head just like that and it is remarkably comforting and soothing.

  5. Yes, in Massachusetts Lady Slippers were a protected species of plant. Nice thoughts and nice photo.

  6. Great alphabet posts...
    certainly this is the sutra I try to live by daily, book 1 sutra 33. The word Karuna in chinese character, by the time it got to china via buddhism is pronounced Ja in in Korean. Ji in Japanese and many different ways in chinese depending on dialects. Thus the character for compassion is my name Ja. it can also be precious love. So... you are talking about me in this post!!
    My parents gave me a name for me to live up to!!


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