I am 100% sure that I sound like a broken record during class-
Push your shoulder blades into your spine, open your chest, stack your shoulders—
I say it over, and over, and over throughout a class
and I say it over, and over, and over at home too.
A posture can look and feel so much different when done with the stacked shoulders and chest open
than a posture with collapsed shoulder blades and rounded neck…
I notice that it is more common to see a student collapse through the shoulders and heart when the asana is getting a little more difficult OR when exhaustion is starting to creep in.
So one day, while holding Utkatasana (chair), I asked everyone to notice if they had started to fold their shoulders in? “Without judging”, I said, “pay attention to this throughout the rest of the practice; checking in when things get a little tough to see if you have stacked shoulders
or a rounded, collapsed core…
This isn’t about having a perfect body or perfect form, this is about opening the heart to make room for growth, freedom, and contentment. It is about LEADING with the heart (tomorrows topic) so that we find what we are truly looking for- we find a life lived with integrity to who we are and what we can become!
I have a daughter who is very, very protective of her heart. I recognize this in her, because it is how I lived for years and years. So concerned with what might hurt, she closes down and protects herself from any level of feeling at all. There is no way, I have counseled with her, to protect your heart from only hurt. There is not a temperature gauge on the heart that turns off the cold and only allows the warm, fuzzy feelings. It’s either ALL IN or ALL OUT where the heart and emotions are concerned! An open heart MUST feel it all- happy, sad, bitter, sweet, joy, concern, lack, abundance…
This is why Adam and Eve ate that apple and gave up the pretty awesome Garden of Eden in exchange for a world with thorns and thistles! They knew that in order to really FEEL the good, they had to experience the bad. This is a hand in hand arrangement.
With an open heart we feel what it means to be LIVING! This is not going through the motions just to get from point A to point B. This is smelling the roses, feeling the summer breeze, dancing in the rain, and hearing the flow of a river type of living!
There is definitely a level of vulnerability to living life with such an open heart. But this vulnerability brings with it blessings as well. First, we see the world a little more compassionately when we are vulnerable ourselves. When we have our best on the line, we are a little more kind when someone we love stumbles and falls. Second, we are little more humble in our relationships with ourselves and others. A person who guards themselves from the pains of life can only see their strengths. It is a healthy relationship with our weaknesses and disappointments that allows us to see ourselves as the trying our best, but still imperfect beings we really are. And finally, an open heart makes us more forgiving- seeing our own faults and follies allows us to be more gentle with all of mankind.
Be gentle with yourself, be kind to others, and trust that life will hurt and it will heal but the only way to truly live is to open your heart and FEEL!
Like the flow of a river, let your emotions change you from day to day.
Write a list of all of the emotions that you can think of. Is there something about really FEELING any one of these emotions that concerns you? What do you really have to lose if you were to FEEL all of the emotions on your list? Really think about and ponder on your answers, let this be telling of why you protect your heart. If you understand WHY you do it, you can understand HOW to move forward.
- Agave Nectar (or honey, natural maple syrup, or brown rice syrup)
- Melt butter, toss and toast cashews until lightly golden. Add in the agave nectar and lightly toss until coated well.
- These will get a little sticky, but oh my, they are delicious.
- I use these on greens with raspberries, mangoes, feta and a yummy raspberry balsamic dressing.