Practice Love, Be Love



We have turned yet another page as we enter into a new month – a month that has been dedicated to the heart and love. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, this month can serve as a good reminder of the importance of caring for our own hearts.

Our heart is a central piece of our existence, vital not only to our physical experience in this life but also to our emotional connections. In that light, the heart can be seen as the strongest, most resilient part of ourselves, yet equally as vulnerable. It is through the heart that we connect to that which is not touchable, the essence of our soul. It is through the heart we remember that love is the foundation of everything and even during the most challenging moments when our hearts feel shattered, it is here we find the courage to begin again.

So how will you take care of your most precious, precious heart?

There is only one you, one glorious and magnificent you. In the deepest space of your heart, lies this remembrance and the guidance on how to use your heart to express who you are. From your heart is where your dreams can be created in this physical world and from the heart is where we love and serve one another. But if we don’t care for our hearts, if we can’t find love for ourselves, it will be difficult to do these things.

If you’ve been to a yoga class, undoubtedly somewhere along the way you’ve heard a teacher say, “soften your heart”. For many who hear this for the first time, it may strike the thought, “How the heck do I do that?”. When this offering is given, it is from the understanding that life and our experiences in it, along with our mind’s reactive patterns to these experiences, can cause us to distance ourselves from our heart. We may move away from connecting to our heart to protect ourselves from experiencing pain or because somewhere along the way we stopped trusting ourselves. This emotional and mental disconnect is what creates a sense of hardening around the heart, for we have actively created a barrier around it, or found a way to numb the sensations from it. But if we block things from entering our hearts, we effectively also block things from flowing out of our hearts. This means we are less likely to hear the innate wisdom and guidance our heart contains.

In the practice of yoga, we consciously set forth to remove all that is in the way of experiencing and expressing the entirety of who we are. Mindful movement and deepened connection to our breath, physically strengthen the body and heart, building stamina and endurance. Pausing in awareness and silence during meditation supports the conscious unraveling of our thought patterns. When the mind and body become spacious and less rigid, so does our heart. We begin to trust ourselves once again, finding the courage to open and live life in a more wholehearted way.

Follow your heart – don’t we hear this so often? Why and when would you stop asking this of yourself?

May this message and this month inspire you to check in with your heart and take good care of it. Do what brings you warmth and joy, let that fill in the cracks and aches you may hold. One breath, one step, one movement at a time, and always know how much you are loved.

With light and love,

Laura McKinnon

Categories: Yoga & Mindfulness Blog
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