Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 28 - Listening to the Heart (Chakra #4)

This morning, it was really clear to me that night clubbing does not complement my current yoga practice and lifestyle. I don't recover well from going to bed at 2 am, especially considering I am now waking up to 108 sun salutations. Although I kinda knew this before, I felt compelled to join my friend’s 30th birthday celebration at some fancy new supper club. I put in a valiant effort too: I wore 3.5 inch heels, a dress and stayed out past 1 am. I only having one glass of wine, I’ve been feeling hung over and low energy all day.

I slept in until 9:30am, and so I was anxious as to how and when I would be able to fit in my practice, my photos and my blog today considering I had to be at my studio this afternoon for a workshop my friend Jamie Lee and tonight another friend is celebrating her birthday. But I decided that since today I am focusing on the heart chakra, the fourth energy centre, I was going to listen to what my heart is asking.

I've been in need of some alone time and some space. Instead of doing the yoga asana part with Jamie's workshop group, I took my mat down the street to the water and practiced there. It was beautiful. I sat for a long time just looking out on the water and up at the clouds and started repeating this affirmation: "I am letting go and allowing the universe to take care of me."

It felt good to recognize what I need. I need to let go of my worries and expectations of this project. I know that what will be, will be, so why I am I still trying so hard to create a perfect poster, to give the most meaningful gift, to raise so much money for charity, to write interesting entries, and to top it off, why do I push myself go out
and be the life of the party, as well? I know and I don't know this answer, my friends, but I understand why solitude and simple rural living makes spiritual life so much easier.

I am letting go and allowing the universe to take care of me.

My practice wasn't perfectly clean, but it was pleasant. I didn't really have a plan as to what postures I would do and I didn't even use a mat for most of it. I wanted to feel my hands on the ground and at many points, I laid on my stomach, my heart on the grass, and it felt good.

The Heart Chakra
The heart chakra, anahata chakra in Sanskrit, is located in the centre of the chest and is associated with the color green. This is the centre for compassion, kindness and the immune system. It is also through this energy centre that we connect with one another in friendship and in love. When this chakra is balanced, we feel compassion and unconditional love for ourselves, for others, and for everything around us. In the workshop today, Jamie was talking about how we project our emotions through our heart centre into the space that surrounds us and back. Thus, how we feel emotionally, effects what we experience. For example, when we feel happy and positive, we send out this signal and more happiness and positive things comes back to us. The opposite is true when we feel negative and angry. In light of this, it makes sense for us only to do things we really want to do and things that are good for us.

Something I find helpful is sit quietly and assess what exact emotions I am feeling. Then I ask myself
Deepak Chopra's three essential questions: Who am I? What do I want? & How can I serve? I ask and then I wait for the first thing that comes to mind. For me, the answers are usually every abstract and symbolic. This practice can be done anytime, but it's nice to do it first thing in the morning so that you know where you stand emotionally at the start of the day.

Next, you can introduce mantra, if you'd like. The mantra for the heart chakra is YAM. According to my teacher, it is best to repeat YAM in a stable seated position with the eyes closed and hands on the heart -- right first, left on top. (She has advised me not to repeat YAM during the sun salutation, only when sitting still.)

Surya Namaskar Receipe: Day 28 - The Anahata Salute

To open and activate this fourth centre, I recommend doing a sun salutation that opens your heart and brings you joy. It can also be helpful to visualize the color green-- green like the grass, green like a lush forest.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE that pic of you outside...heart open...with the clouds....looks so free and so inspiring!