“We all are the same. We all have the potential to become a better person.”
A while ago I asked my students what would they like to have more in our classes. The answer was ‘backbends’. I’m a forward-bending-head-standing-arm-balancing kind of a gal, so I’m not a great fan of backbends. I don’t have the most flexible spine, but unfortunately, with yoga, the poses that you don’t enjoy are the poses that you need the most. So I went with it, we pulled a spun out class dedicated to heart opening and backbends.
The atmosphere among us after the class was so powerful. We felt happy, energetic and packed with compassion. I pretty much soared home, while hugging every single person on my way. I was full of love, and ready to shout it out from rooftops. Think, what an effect would a series of backbends in the morning have on world leaders? I’ll bet you, it wouldn’t harm us…
By all means I’m not the coldest person without backbends. Even though I come from a frosty and dark Scandinavia. I’ve always been a hugger, an emotional all-I-want-is-smiles kind of a freak of nature. But I still have lots to learn about becoming the person I want to be. If I could only open my heart even more, if I’d practice really, really hard… Think of my potential to provoke all the grumpy people with my happy-hippie-attitude… Just kidding, that’s not my motive. My motives are to be sunny, loving and caring partner, a compassionate and joyous friend and all around kind person…
We all get hurt occasionally. It’s sad but inevitable. It’s so easy to lock our hearts from the world just to protect ourselves. It might help us sometimes to survive the intolerable challenges. However the consequences of a close or broken heart might lead us to negative thinking, trust issues, depression, isolation, anxiety and pain.
So how can we open our hearts? How can we learn to love more?
These are my favourite methods when I need a lift…
Connect, truly and utterly connect with the world around you! When you wake up in a morning and step outside, take a deep inhale of that crispy morning air and feel happy to be alive. While walking, connect with your surroundings, try to find new things on your way to work that you haven’t noticed before. When talking to people, look into their eyes, really listen and stay present. I don’t know what we are so afraid of, but eye contact seems to be such an intimidating deed for some of us. We get confused where to look when stranger is passing by. What could possibly happen if we just look at them in the eyes and give them a friendly smile?
I was in a “Positive Energy” workshop led by world famous healer Veet Mano, and we had this exercise where for a minute we had to hold hands with an absolute stranger and look deep into their eyes.Then hug, and change partner. This went on with seven different persons and it was pretty awkward to start with, but ended up being one of the most mind blowing mental exercises I’ve done. Staring someone you don’t know straight into eyes, while nearly getting a glimpse of their soul… Such a simple yet so powerful practice. I recommend this to everybody.
Learn to forgive. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, but you must learn to let go of your past so you can move forward. You feel tons lighter and happier when you stop carrying your wounds and burdens around. Forgive your enemies and forgive yourself. Start fresh! Instead of being the person you are, try to be the person you want to be remembered as.
Be grateful and allow gratitude to bring warmth into your heart. Don’t let that “thank you” be just an empty word or a nice habit. Make a conscious effort and mean it when you say it.
Also be generous, as giving has a way to connect our hearts with the heart of others. Perform daily an act of unconditional love. For example say something nice to your mailman, smile to someone who seems to need it or make an effort to get to know someone you work with as a person.
While walking around or sitting with your mates, remember what your yoga teacher constantly reminds you about, “lift your heart!”, “open your chest”. There is to many people walking around hunched, with their shoulders turned in and hearts hidden away. Sitting or walking straight with an open chest, will bring you confidence and leave you feeling happier and stronger.
Cuddle up! I love hugging, proper-deep-heart-to-heart hugs! Physical touch, especially hugging is very important for a healthy heart. It builds trust, gives a sense of safety and heals depression, anxiety and stress. I always try to hold a hug for 4 seconds to get a nice fix of serotonin in my brain to create happiness, but I’ve notice that usually after two seconds people try to pull away thinking what the hell is this new ager trying to do to me…
Meditate. If your not familiar with meditation, then just go for a quiet walk, or sit in a beautiful place for a while. Breath into your heart, literally, imagine the air as a white light travelling into your heart and healing it. Great option is to lay down on your back and place a rolled up towel or cushion under your upper back to lift your chest. Dedicate this moment to yourself. Be present. Don’t think of future or the past, just be. Become centred and you pretty surely feel happier and calmer afterwards.
Practise yoga! There are poses that can balance your heart chakra, leaving you feeling compleatly at ease with yourself, full of love and happiness. Great poses for heart opening are upward facing dog, fish pose, camel pose, dancer pose, bow pose, shoulder stand ( my personal favourite).
Go nuts! Release that inner child, run in the rain barefoot, laugh, sing in the shower. Dance, dance, dance to your favourite song. That’s what I do… My husband has got me these mini speakers all around the house, cause he knows that I have to have music everywhere, I dance and I absolutely loose it sometimes. Dare to stay wild, be who you were before the world told you who to be.
Most importantly LOVE! Love yourself, love others, love flowers, love little silly moments, love laughter, love kisses, love the spring breeze, love the feeling of crispy fresh bedlinens, love the smell of summer rain, love that perfect cup of coffee with the fresh croissants… Life is dazzling so just love it!