At the beginning of this year I was still very much focusing on healing. Both from spinal surgery and also from cumulative stresses from the last year. I felt that I had lost my bounce, my enthusiasm for life and that smiles did not come as readily to my lips or my heart. So I decided to focus on emotional and physical healing.
As I started to practice with this in mind I realized how tight my chest felt, I noticed my breathing was shallower as was my capacity to feel. I pride myself on not shying away from challenge but this physical symptom demonstrated to me how much my body was reacting in fear. Fear of letting emotions be fully felt or letting people in.
When I live with an open heart I feel I glow from the inside…the ‘ready brek’ glow of self-acceptance. I meet my life with more grace and fluidity, like water I can flow around obstacles rather than striving to batter through them!! When I am happy in myself and my heart I am more energized, more motivated, and more passionate about life. I am more connected to my intuition and a better communicator in all my relationships.
When I get stuck in my samskaras, my old energetic patterning, this is when my heart and mind get blocked. This may be from a personal trigger, memory or action that fixates my heart or mind, which then blocks the flow of prana, energy. Or an overload of expectation or challenges that literally use up all my reserves, leaving me without the energy to avoid old patterning. When this happens I find myself over thinking or worrying. My heart and mind feel full of sadness, which like energetic blockages deplete me.
My usual ability to experience life with a smile and inner strength may decrease. A heart full of unfinished events and worries is one that isn’t digesting life…so we end up with emotional constipation!! Everything gets stuck in a loop!!
Here a 7 ways we can heal our heart and open to moving forward with an inner smile
- Focus on your breath. While you do this feel as though you are literally breathing that life giving breath into your heart space. Direct attention to your heart centre and listen. Notice how you feel, what your intuition tells you. Through being mindful of our heart space we can recognize old patterns and create space for new ones.
- Focus on compassion. As we breathe into our own heart we are learning to feel compassion and to care for our self. Compassion is about how we relate to ourselves as well as how we relate to others. Compassion is often about acceptance and allowing our emotions & thoughts to flow rather than be restricted by judgment or expectation. As we practice compassion we can learn to distance from the stories in our mind and understand how they relate to old patterning and habits. This allows us to move forward into a more accepting compassionate heart space.
- Be grateful. Gratitude has a powerful way of warming our heart space. It is also a powerful addition to visualization and manifesting practice. When we choose to see what we have to be grateful for rather than look for the darkness, then we feel happier, stronger and more capable of being compassionate and grateful. It appears the more we notice the more we have to be grateful for.
- Focus on physically opening the heart space in your yoga practice. Certain postures, mudras and practices can regulate and balance the flow of energy. These can provide subtle and powerful emotional and spiritual opening connecting us back to our self and to others. These may include simple postures such as sphinx, cobra and locust or more challenging postures such as camel, bow and dancer.
- Be friendly. Make conscious connections. This may be making more time for friends and family or engaging with someone who you would normally not interact with. Enjoy connecting, listen, enjoy silences where you connect with feelings rather than words, revel in the mystery of others. This allows us to refocus on the connectedness of the world.
- Be generous. Of your time, your effort, your smile. Maybe smile at a stranger or add something positive to someone’s day. A random gift or offer of assistance. Giving and generosity has a way of connecting us to our heart space.
- Finally, but in many ways the most important…have fun. Sing and dance, smile and laugh. Do all of the above with a twinkle in your eye and appreciation of the fun in life. Walk barefoot, act like a child and play. I know that life isn’t always easy, but we need to remember to enjoy the good bits! It’s easy to get bogged down with grown up stuff and we need to remember to play. Keep your inner child alive and loved in your heart.
Living from an open heart creates connection, inspiration, energy and improved health. We can be more authentically who we are and experience the joy of connection, love and inner peacefulness.