The first time I became conscious of my heart opening was about three years ago after a break up. This was not my first encounter of love lost, however, it was the first time I felt the healing effects of the work I was doing within.
As a back-story, I was in a long -term relationship with a wonderful man. I have nothing bad to say about him, he made me feel beautiful and loved every day. Although, due to poor timing and an age difference, our relationship ended. We were living together at the time, so the day we broke up I had packed my things and decided to find refuge at friends house. Over the course of the next month, I spent my time couch surfing, getting through my day job and devoting as much time to my yoga mat as possible.
This period of my life was tough. To be clear, the couch surfing was pretty awesome. Moving from place to place, I was held by the love and compassion of dear friends. I truly felt the kindness and hearts from the people in my life. However, no break up is easy and I was having a hard time. I went through second thoughts, regret, many tears and a heavy heart.
About six months prior I had studied under an influential meditation teacher. One of the biggest lessons she taught me was that emotions were not something to get attached to. Emotions were to be given a safe space to be processed and felt. She explained that emotions were like a storm in the ocean. Similar to a storm, the emotion will pass, calm and eventually the waves will smooth.
After some time, I applied it to my experience. First, I became very aware of my distractions, which were the things or activities keeping me from feeling my heart. Playing the dating field, constantly going out or being surrounded by others, work, staying “busy”…. I will admit, I had fun, but at the end of the day, they were all helping to keep me numb to what I didn’t want to face… vulnerability.
Healing the unseen can be tricky. Say you have a cut on your hand. You see it bleed, you clean it up and put on a band-aid. Over time you tend to it, watch it heal and grow new skin. However, what is it that we do to consciously tend to the healing of the emotional body? I mean, it is something everyone encounters in life. Not only in romantic relationships, but with our jobs, national events, families, friends…
The repercussions of placing this to the side can sink deep into our unconscious, potentially keeping us from opportunity or the ability to give and receive love. For me, it created resistance, distrust and fear. It wasn’t until I felt my emotions and passed through the fear of vulnerability did I start to feel my heart open.
I did the work, honoring the emotion and giving myself the permission to feel.
I remember exactly where I was when I felt the healing from this work. It was about two months after the break up. I was in yoga; the class was filled with heart opening poses and deep pranayama (breath work), with the peak pose being urdhva dhanurasana or wheel pose. I fully surrendered into this pose, breathing into my heart… It began to feel warm, light and then it started to open…. Whoa. It had to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. I never knew I could have this kind of physical connection with my heart. I felt this tingly sensation move from my heart and into my entire body.
Since then, it has been the first of many heart-opening experiences I’ve been conscious of. Both on and off my yoga mat. In fact, that whole period of my life is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about the work I do. It has been the inspiration of the practice I share as a teacher. Connecting people to their hearts is my work, because it has had and continues to make such a strong positive impact on my life.
I still deal with bouts of fear when it comes to feeling vulnerable, but I will say I’ve become a friend to vulnerability in the best of ways and I couldn’t be happier.
Working with your heart is not always easy. Although, from my experience it is the most rewarding relationship you could ever have.
“When we simply allow ourselves to fully feel our feelings as they come, we tend to let them go easily.
This is all we are required to do; our feelings simply want to be felt.
The deeper purpose of our feelings is to transform the terrain of our inner world, sometimes creating space for more feelings to flow, sometimes providing sustenance for growth…
All we need to do is allow the process by relaxing, opening, and receiving the bounty of our emotions.” – DailyOm