Follow your heart. Listen to your heart. Have some heart. Let your heart lead you.
There's a lot written, said and sung about our dear hearts.
A few years ago I did a workshop and a student asked me the following question after class (which I think is universal one), how do I listen to my heart? How do I follow my heart?
The past year I really delved into this. Some instances were intentional and some accidental. But through these experiences, through the Yoga of Svadhyaya (self study/reflection), working with Heart Codes (learned from Kelly Sunrose) through these, I began to really "know" this feeling. The feeling of my heart happy, of being true to my heart. And in Yoga we call this experience, this knowing; The Vijnanamaya Kosha. And its all yours!
The fun bit here is that, no one can do it for you!
You must do this yourself.
You must "know thyself" (a Greek Aphorism).
It is not a path for the faint hearted, but there is also no other path if you want to be happy!
Here are some ideas to think about and work with:
Asana: We do the physical practice of Yoga so we can unwind and unfurl the tense and tight parts of our body.
Pranayama: We sit and work intentionally with our breath, after all a calm and steady breath lead to a calm and steady mind. If the mind is racing around like a chicken, how can we possibly hear our heart?
Meditation: The balm of sitting quietly, here is the junction of the others meeting up. When we sit quietly, when we make time to be with ourselves and really listen, then, we might begin to hear the whispers of our heart.
Lately I've been really drawn toward True Heart Offerings. Aside from my love of J Crew, I've been definitely buying from smaller companies, which I feel have true heart offerings. Recently I've been loving the following:
theayu.com.au - For the most heavenly Ayurvedic Oils; perfume and body oil (great for Abhyanga)
thecleantreatsfactory.com - A true heavenly delight of foods and space. You might not want to leave!
goldengoosedeluxebrand.com - Just the cutest sneakers WITH STARS!! A definate splurge but its "where orthotics meets design"
So maybe start by noticing what you feel lifts your heart? It might be an inspiring word, it could be a book, maybe a cafe, perhaps a pair of shoes! Start there, notice your happy heart and its feels and it will lead you to your true heart.
There are many ways in Yoga to nourish and fill your tank. Each person can probably find at least a handful of ways to feel good through the practice of Yoga.
Lately, I've taken time to just sit outside, enjoying a warm drink and soaking up the warmth and feel of this glorious sunshine. Simple.
Did you know by just doing that, your nourishing and tending to yourself. Yes! I know, so simple but so much more. The Yogi's put names to 5 layers of our being, called Koshas. Sitting and soaking up the sunshine and breathing in the fresh air, is nourishment for two of these, your Annamaya Kosha and your Pranamaya Kosha, thats your skin or your most gross physical layer and your vital energy in non Sanskrit terms.
These koshas are subtle layers of our being, and are a way of looking after and nourishing ourselves, beyond the common lingo of “mind, body & spirit”.
If your looking to dive a bit deeper into the Koshas here are a small handful of practices (some of which you may already do) to get you started:
1. Soak up the sunshine (ahem, yes as mentioned above)
2. Breathe in the fresh air (special times; dawn and dusk)
3. Practice the Hum Sa Mantra (quietly saying to yourself; inhale Ham, exhale Sa)
4. Pick a Yoga Sutra, a poem, a value, set an intention and really feel into that, soak it up, embody it and let it become part of who you are and how you are in the world.
5. Find something in nature to be with that helps you settle into a sense of awe, a sense of honour and or reverence, for this magical planet we live on. Let yourself be omazed!
So just there, above are 5 sweet & simple practices. If you’d like to know more about these, Light On Life by BKS Iyengar is a great read. He was a householder like us, managing homes, feeding dogs, cooking meals. He shows us how to nourish these in ourselves, in our daily life. No moving to an ashram required!!
Sweet hugs to you.
Just one breath.
This is the practice that helped me when my mother passed away, quickly. I'm not ready to write about it in detail, but it was certainly a helpful practice which took from from contraction to well....a bit more spaciousness in my belly and my breath.
This is the practice that I carry with me, when "stuff" is happening in my world, which is your world.
This is the very simple practice that creates space. When we have a sense of spaciousness in our breath, we can have space in our responses to the world. Stephen Covey, who wrote the gem of a book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talked about this space in between stimulus and response. I've kind of been a bit fascinated with this every since, yes, there is space.
Desikachar also wrote about there usually being enough space between what is happening and our response to it to take at least one full breath. I think he's spot on!
Anyway, a few years ago, I wrote this out on a little card and handed it to the students in my Yoga class. The little piece of card read "Just one breath". What surprises me and makes me so glad, is that many of my students still have that card. One carries it in her wallet and one has it on her fridge.
Its a really simple practice and it can change your response, your interactions with others and gives you time, just enough time to drop in to your centre, to soften, to really get into a space of E A S E.
And from that place, well, good things can happen.