In the wintertime we are encouraged to practice back-bending poses, since they build heat and provide the nervous system an opportunity to ground, to be centered and to allow us to be open to the future while we conserve our energy for the coming spring. We constantly recognize that our asanas practice has many lessons for application “off the mat,” and into our daily life. Back bends are both hip and shoulder (heart) openers. The heart-opening aspect is both physical and contemplative and here in the month of February, we return time and again to how the foundation of life is LOVE.
On a superficial level, we may think of love as something won, earned, lost, attained,…something that is limited. From the perspective of spirituality, love is the true essence of our being. The collective consciousness recognizes our intertwined paths along the journey of life to bind us with many similarities: we live longing for connection, purpose, hope, happiness, and no matter what is our faith practice, all recognize that the foundation to all of this is that we are beings of love. Seeking it outside ourselves is where we get stuck/lost. Looking within is what allows us then to grow in our experiences, understanding and relationships of life, learning that when we offer our love unconditionally, our reserves are not diminished, but multiplied. Whether we look at the big picture or the small detail, the world moves forward from the efforts of all that comes from love: love for God/Higher Power, family, friends, pets, country, other cultures, and self, … The ever-widening circle to whom we are connected brings us to recognize that acceptance, gratitude, patience, compassion, responsibility, service,… all stem from love. Offering our love is our highest truth. Accepting and loving ourselves is the springboard from whence this all can happen since negative emotions create the walls of fear and self doubt.
As yoga is a spiritual practice, we say that all positive emotions stem from love and all negative emotions come from fear. All faith practices recognize the same ideas.
Consider this meditation practice for today and cultivate it as part of enjoying a more positive day: Make time to be still, to be quiet, to use breath as a one pointed focus, so to become present. Sit comfortably. Sense the energy tied to both the inhalation and the exhalation of each breath cycle. Exhale and settle into the surface below you, releasing tension whether realized or subconscious. Inhale and you will feel lighter. Once you have cultivated this “way” you might be surprised that before acting outwardly, you take time to look within. Subconsciously you will recognize that you are responsible for your emotions and start from checking in, removing the obstacles that hamper clarity and forward thinking, so that you harness the positive energy of your true self. Your actions will align with your truth, your essence of love.
What happens next will unfold as the joys of life lived with an open heart.
What happens when you practice heart openers?