Definition - What does Self-Love mean?

Self-love is the principle of showing respect, regard and kindness for one's self and values. In the context of yoga, it is considered an important quality to cultivate due to its association with the yogic principle of ahimsa, or non-violence. To practice Self-love is to practice ahimsa toward and respect for the Self, or the Divine within, which is the same as practicing love and devotion to the Divine in any other form.

Yogapedia explains Self-Love

Practicing yoga postures and meditation can be considered a form of Self-love. Through regular, mindful yoga practice, practitioners are taking the time to connect with themselves and, thus, to respect the inner Self. This definition can be broadened so that other aspects of a yogic lifestyle, like eating a nourishing diet, reducing stress levels and sleeping well, are also examples of practicing Self-love.

Some consider Self-love to be the most important yogic principle because the more someone practices ahimsa toward themselves, the more they are able to refrain from harming others, intentionally or otherwise. Others say that the violence done by people to the external world is only a manifestation of the inner violence they inflict upon themselves. Thus, in order to make positive contributions to the external world, it is necessary to start with Self-love.

Self-love is also closely linked to the concepts of surrender and acceptance of one's self in the present moment, which may be cultivated through mindful practices such as yoga and meditation.

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