A Journey to the Heart
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are the guiding light on our experience and journey of yoga. Yoga means Union, to bring together, to yoke. What is it that we are bringing into union? Nichala Joy Devi offers a beautiful interpretation:
“Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart.”
We can think of consciousness as our mind, which is the container of our thoughts. As we still our mind, it is then we can abide in the heart and experience our true nature.
Where do we begin? A beautiful practice for living in the heart is acceptance. Love begins with acceptance. It is in self-acceptance, in each moment, that the mind can find stillness, and rest. No longer needing to choose for or against what is present. The consciousness begins to rest in the seat of loving awareness at the heart. Simply noticing, accepting, and allowing.
This month we invite you to share the intention of self-love, compassion, and acceptance. This is a practice we can cultivate on the mat, during our asana practice. When self-judgment arises, we guide our breath and consciousness into our heart space. It is here that judgment and resistance melt away into compassion and acceptance. As we nurture this practice, acceptance deepens into an experience of love. Love for what is, as is, including ourselves.
The achievement of being able to hold shoulder stand for 15 breaths is great, yet if we explore the concept of intention, we are likely to find that there is more for us to receive. Intention invites us into self-reflection, why do we want to do shoulder stand for 15 breaths? Is it to develop strength? Is it to develop confidence?
Yogi Amrit Desai often says “Be what you are doing it for.” This is a beautiful invitation to place your intention first and cultivate that way of being all along the way, as you take actions to reach your goal. It is helpful to bring our intentions into “I am” statements. “I am strong. I am confident.” As we move through each yoga practice, we bring that intention all along the way, into each posture, breath, and inward focus. As we cultivate our intention, the achievement of the goal simply becomes a marker along the way to a deeper way of being in our bodies, and our lives.