How many times have I been in Dandasana (Staff Pose) during a yoga class and listened to the teacher say, Open your chest? Same with Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and many, many other poses.
My friend and fellow blogger Michelle of Full Soul Ahead was in a guided meditation when she heard the teacher say, “We often hunch our shoulders as a way to protect our hearts.” Michelle blogged about the symbolic meaning of that tendency over here: Open Heart. A beautiful post and well worth checking out.
Not that long ago I was reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and came across the passage where a recovering addict had prayed continuously that God would open his heart. When the man was rushed to the hospital for surgery, he remembered thinking, God, I didn’t mean literally! (The story goes something like that – I don’t have the book with me to look it up).
Anyway. Open my heart, God. What a great prayer. I realized today that it’s so much easier to “open my heart” when things are going well. When life is good, my work is being published, my husband and I are laughing together, and the sun is shining, it’s so easy to take a big breath and stand up tall and let my chest expand and be graceful and appreciative and joyful towards others and towards the world.
But when dark times come…oh, those are the moments where I tend to get frustrated or angry and want to quit. But I think maybe it’s during those times when the heart needs to open up and grow most of all.
During closing, my hands are at my heart in prayer. The yoga teacher says to move my fingers so that only my thumbs and pinky are touching – the center is to remain open, like a flower. She says the lotus grows in the mud and opens up when the sun shines on it, and closes when it doesn’t. She says, “Remember that when life is murkey, and I’m struggling through the mud, to open up, like the lotus.”
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