Monday, April 20, 2020

Home Practice Club: Loving-Kindness Hand Washing

Lotus by Sarit Z Rogers
by Nina Zolotow

Today I wanted to share with you a lovely idea I learned about through social media. As you all know by now, one of the common-sense steps being recommended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to wash your hands, frequently, for 20 to 30 seconds. Typically, the experts tell us that to help us time our hand washing, we should sing a short song, such as Happy Birthday. But the alternative suggestion for timing hand washing that I learned about, which is to use the Loving-Kindness meditation, appeals to me much more. After all, when you take this common-sense step to prevent yourself from catching the virus, you’re also helping to protect the vulnerable in your community, including:

  • People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, kidney diseases, and compromised immune systems.
  • People with disabilities that make it harder for them than others to take steps to protect themselves.
  • The elderly.
  • People who have no health insurance and cannot afford good medical care.
  • People living in poverty, without access to healthy food, good hygiene, and/or shelter.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Loving-Kindness meditation, you can focus on a particular individual, either someone you’re concerned about, someone you don’t even know, or even someone you have a difficult relationship with or who has hurt you. Or, you can focus on “all beings” in general. Repeating it twice while soaping your hands and once while rinsing will result in a good, long hand wash.

To focus on an individual, say silently to yourself:

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To focus on all beings, say silently to yourself:

May all beings be safe.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings live with ease.

Thanks so much,


This post was edited by Patrice Priya Wagner, Managing Editor of Accessible Yoga blog and member of the Board of Directors.

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