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Yoga At Home with Jane Wiesner

Food for Thought June

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Jane Wiesner signing copies of her book Who Am I? at the 2003 launch.

Love is Nourishment

As part of my recent course curriculum (Grad Cert in Yoga Therapy) facilitator, Leigh Blashki, gave me a very insightful note (from Institute for Integrative Nutrition) titled 'Primary Food'.

Primary food is not your usual source of nutrition yet it is something we all need as much as the air that we breathe. Primary food isn't consumed—it is cultivated; nurtured. Primary food is the nourishment that comes from love and affection. A caring touch is primary food. A friendly smile is primary food. A kind word is primary food.

When I think of love, I think of the kind of nourishment primary food gives us—nourishment for the heart and soul.

Love is often romanticised (and there is nothing wrong with romance, I'm all for it) but I believe that the essence of love comes from something as simple as consideration—consideration for others. Consideration is an underrated quality. Without consideration we fail to understand. Without consideration we fail to tolerate. Without consideration we fail to love.

To me, the basis of love is the ability to consider another human being's welfare—to truly value them, not in a self-sacrificing way (because that can inspire resentment), but in an honest, open and respectful way.

From a philosophical point of view (and I do love philosophy [the word comes from the Greek words philo and sophia meaning 'love of wisdom' or 'love of knowledge']), I think pride is the greatest obstacle to love (pride in the sense of not allowing oneself to be wrong). Pride requires saving face and love requires an open heart. Pride demands dignity and love requires humility. Pride creates distance and judgement whereas love tears down barriers and suspends all judgement.

I also believe that one of the greatest transgressions of our society is our inability to learn to love ourselves. Love is something that is generated from the inside out—but it must be nourished in order to grow. You can't give what you don't have. Why isn't 'love' on the school curriculum? Shouldn't there (at least) be a subject called 'Understanding Emotions'?

Namaste (Saluting the Light in You),

Jane Wiesner
Principal of the Body and Mind School of Yoga

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PS: The reason I love philosophy (as a discipline) is because it welcomes opinion (albeit evidence-supported opinion). A philosopher can indeed be wrong, but his or her right to express their philosophy is a given—the right to question is supported. In so many disciplines there is a margin for beliefs (an accepted explanation for 'what is') whereas philosophy continually questions its own premises. It opens up a forum where one is not told what to think—one is just encouraged to think.

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