Practices To Open The Heart

“All paths are the same: they lead nowhere... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.” Carlos Castaneda

Such a huge part of yoga is learning to ‘listen’, learning to ‘look’. 
Developing an awareness that has the ability to hear the calling of our own heart. 
Hridaya Kasha is the spiritual heart space; it expands way beyond our physicality. 
Sitting in the centre of hridaya kasha we sit in the centre of our Being. We sit in connection. 

The word asana translates as seat. As we develop our skill in the asanas, the body becomes a comfortable place to be, a place to relax like a welcome old sofa. The asanas nourish the nervous system and we find greater ease and a comfier seat for the mind and emotions to settle into. Breath by breath, asana by asana we arrive at the gateway of the heart. Through the heart we find connection, we live the yoga.

 

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna “Yoga is skill in action.” For the many of us who practice yoga asana, this may be experienced as the bringing of awareness into the actions of the physical body. While reconnecting the mind with the experience of the body is a great start, and a challenging accomplishment, it is only just the beginning. To truly deepen our experience of yoga and gracefully navigate our lives we must learn not only to be present in the moment, but how to move skilfully through the thoughts, emotions and attitudes that surface and block our dynamic energy and inhibit the realization of our potential.

In practical terms this means that rather then just being aware of our tendencies to become agitated, angry, nervous, anxious, over-excited, sad or blue we develop the tools to move these energies through us without getting thrown off our center, distracted, scattered or put down. Rather then simply reacting or responding to whatever life throws our way, we choose the quality of our experiences by what we bring to the moment – not what the moment brings to us. We stay in the centre of our heart. 

For back door easy access to the heart we have all the wonderful Bhakti practices; chanting and singing the glories of the Divine can fast track us into the arms of our own hearts. 

All life is about relationships. The most intimate relationship each one of us will ever have is the relationship we have with ourselves. As we delve deeper and deeper into the heart space our capacity for love expands. As we learn to love ourselves more this is mirrored in all our relationships.

Practices To Open The Heart Yoga Workshop takes place on Sunday 22nd November, from 10am - 12pm in Clifton, Bristol with Dory Walker. Details here.