30 Oct All You Need Is Love
Anahata the Heart Chakra is the bridge from our primitive instincts to our higher spiritual self. In Sanskrit Anahata can be translated as meaning infinite, limitless or boundless. I can’t think of anything greater to describe love! Working on balancing this Chakra will rekindle the power of compassion, forgiveness & acceptance. When this Chakra is blocked we can become obsessive & attach love to others rather than finding it within ourselves. Another imbalance often found in this chakra is resentment. When someone really hurts you, it hits you in the heart. If you cannot let go and forgive, you’re left carrying round that weight hence the phrase “a heavy heart”.
All of us crave this kind of love and acceptance but how many of us give time & energy to truly exploring this intention? The problem with that is, if we cannot love and accept ourselves just as we are, we will find it difficult to truly love anyone else in such a boundless, unconditional way as an open Anahata truly offers us.
Love has been defined by so many texts & philosophers, religions & even scientist yet its still a sensation or concept that most of us seem to wrestle with. Patanjali touches on love throughout the Yoga sutras in aspects of how we act & react to others & ourselves. “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” – Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras.
Here Patanjali is referring to the act of loving kindness & our actions towards others. Acting without judgement & resentment even to our enemies or those who have upset us can seem an impossible task but if we act in this way we in a sense disable the resent and pain they have caused us.
Another ancient texts the book of Corinthians describes the attributes of Love amazingly & its always been a reference for me when I work on Anahata.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails“. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
It all sounds pretty ‘holier than thou’ and even unattainable but as with all aspects of Yoga I find the important thing to remember is that its the attempt of these actions & being able to practice these intentions we should look at. Nothing is absolute & no one is perfect but if we just try to practice love we are on a good path. As John said “All You Need Is Love”.
So, Lets Take It To The Mat!
A Heart Opening Asana practice can have the most amazing impact on your emotions. Our physical body is so intimately woven into our emotional & mental state that if we effect one it can have a chain reaction through the others. We see this in very simple ways in our physical displays or posture. When we are confident, open & accepting of love we push our chest out, roll back the shoulders & carry a smile. When we are heart broken or even just feel undeserving of love we round the shoulders pulling or “protecting” the heart by covering it. The truth is we all feel like this at times & unfortunately the more disconnected we become from our true self & from one another the more common these feelings we be. I have mentioned earlier how modern life seems to be so driven by the “survival of the fittest” or “me against the world” thought pattern & this can subtly take effect on our personal feelings. This attitude creates division & in many cases isolation or fear of rejection. The good news is that if you feel like this you are not alone. Even better is that Yoga can play the most pivotal and beautiful role in your journey to self love & self acceptance. In doing so you will feel connected to others without a need for attachment or neediness. Stimulating your Heart & Anahata can heal past wounds & teach you that true love is unconditional & available to all of us.
Big heart opening Asana’s such as Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) or a Yoga Life favourite Wild Thing (Camatkarasana) open up the chest, shoulders & emphasis a letting in of light, love & Life force as we breathe. Heart Opening postures are really expressive & can be quite euphoric which can often lead to a few amazing hugs at the end of a practice. That intern reassess the love hormone Oxytocin which I think we all could do with a daily top up of & next week in class I’m going to try overdose a few of my students on!
Theres so much to take about that surrounds this Chakra, the heart & Love. So much so this week I’ll be posting at least another 2 blogs so we can look at the scientific value of a heart opening practice & any cynical observers out there can have some rational for working on the vibrational energy of Love.
I’ll be teaching a heart opening Vinyasa flow all week at Yoga Life. I’d love you to join me and the rest of the gang for a very euphoric Asana & Pranayama practice.
See you on the mat,
Peace & Love Yogi’s.