Is it possible to move through life with an open heart and still feel safe?
A question that I ask each and every time I step onto the mat. Especially in the summer months when, according to Chinese Medicine, one of the organs associated with summer is the heart. We move through chaos, hate, and mania, into peace, love and joy through opening and releasing.
I practice yoga to find peace in the chaos, not to avoid it entirely. That’s an unattainable goal, for chaos is simply apart of a bigger cycle: The Cycle of Awareness. One must travel through the chaos to find the fertile void that leads to better self-discovery and awareness. I practice yoga to embrace the pangs of the heart, the breaking, the healing, the weighting, not to escape it. For when a heart is broken it is opened. We don’t break it closed, do we? No, we break it open and then choose to sew it closed or heal it open. Embracing the openness of a broken heart for whatever reasons it’s broken is where the growth and the healing begins.
Yoga, for me, is a part of my life. It’s a choice I make every day. To step onto my mat or not, is my choice. To open my heart or not, is my choice. To leave it open or keep it closed when I step off my mat is my choice. There’s no harder or scarier choice, really. But by creating an opportunity and space for my body to make a connection with the mind and spirit, by holding space for myself I have inevitably strengthened my heart. This benefit far outweighs the discomfort that exists sometimes with an open or broken heart.
Yoga has taught me how to give not only to others, but to myself. Yoga has taught me that my relationship with pain is deeply and traumatically dysfunctional and has provided a new outlook on pain which is rather only a sensation and if we’re curious enough it’s less scary and more enlightening. It’s shown me that by healing my body of its conditioned patterns, which are no longer of use to me, I have created space for new and exciting experiences to flood in. And Yoga waits. My yoga waits for me, for when I’m ready to embrace all that comes with committing to its wonderful practice. My yoga accepts where I am mentally and physically without judgement. My yoga has shown me that there is beauty in chaos, and that eventually it’ll all make sense.
I have made a practice of encouraging my students (and my own inner student) to find what their yoga is. How yoga fits into their lives. How the transitions through life can be so clearly mirrored by the transitions between postures on the mat. Taking time to develop this relationship and trust in its unfailing support is step one. Every time you step on your mat you’ve made a choice to go inside. Track your breath. Witness what happens to the body when you deepen your breath. Feel your feet firmly grounded on the Earth as the Earth supports you from below. And then listen. Listen to your extraordinary machine of a body and make everything count. Not allowing one inhale or exhale to escape your consciousness. Not powering through to get to the next posture. Everything, including the transitions, takes the time it takes. Trust in that. Follow your breath. Open your heart. And then you decide if you can walk through life with a beautiful open heart and still feel safe.
“The only way out is through” — Robert Frost.
Practice laughing, practicing loving, practice yoga.
Recently traveling to Nosara, Costa Rica to study under Don and Amba Stapleton, Carrie-Lynn graduated with an Interdisciplinary Yoga Teacher certificate. Drawing from various forms of yoga, Carrie-Lynn weaves the spiritual with the physical into each practice encouraging her students to get interested with the sensations and find their own unique yoga. By bringing awareness to the idea that every experience is an opportunity for growth, Carrie-Lynn will empower, challenge, and motivate her students to enjoy, get curious, and play within each posture. Offering a variety of hands-on assists throughout her classes, Carrie-Lynn will guide the student and encourage a deeper connection to the internal, and multidimensional being. Namaste!
Photo Credit - Ace Hicks
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