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The kind of fruit we bear through practice, bitter or sweet, depends not only on what we do but also on how we do it. When you arrive on your mat and sit to begin your practice, you might pause for a moment and ask how you can cultivate a friendship with yourself. How would your best friend speak to you at this moment? How might this person encourage you and bolster your confidence? How would she or he be honest with you in ways that did not leave you feeling diminished? If you are in pain, can you offer yourself the solace that a dear friend would generously give? If you are feeling joyful, can you be happy for yourself as a friend would be happy for you? The inner teacher has come to befriend you, and there is no part of you that is undeserving of this friendship. If our personal practice becomes of time of self-coercion and self-belittlement, each time we practice we leave a negative imprint and this makes it all the harder to come to the mat the next day. When we offer ourselves unqualified compassion, we start to make positive associations with our practice time. We become the kind of person we'd like to hang out with.
- Donna Farhi, from Bringing Yoga to Life
For additional support in cultivating an unconditional love and compassion for yourself in your personal practice, consider incorporating Padma Mudra into your practice for a time, and see what shifts may follow: