In yoga the heart is central. We first tune into the heart energy located in the upper torso/ chest space. As our practice deepens we feel this energy coursing through our body all the way through our arms to our hands, radiating from our fingers and into the space that surrounds us. We feel it traveling down our legs to the soles of our feet and then into the earth. When the heart energy floods our body and our surrounding space, and whomever we are in relation to, we feel the movement of the heart.
When the energy of the mind forms a clear channel with the heart, peace, clarity and insight arrive. When the mind sinks into the heart we feel the stillness of the heart. Here, we are centred and grounded. In the stillness of our heart we are connected to the source of our being. This is a place to return to as we practice yoga, and in our daily life. The return to the stillness of the heart keeps us orientated in the movement of our practice and life.
We can understand the heart as a compass or the centre of an axis in the asana. With the heart as compass or centre point we understand how to extend the arms and also how to position the torso when we turn towards the sky, or bow to the earth. In our forward fold and cobra we lead not from the head but the heart, which means there is space for the spine’s extension and openness in the shoulders, rather than the spine’s and shoulders’ rigid compression and curving inwards. In yoga there is always an open heart even when we are bowing to the earth, or have it protected in child pose.
To understand the heart in yoga, is to understand yoga, not as a metaphor for life, but as life – the heart is central; the connection between heart and mind brings peace and clear seeing; the heart is open and spacious, and this open spaciousness extends into the body and beyond its limits into the space that surrounds it. The heart in yoga/ life brings clear relationship, where we are in tune with each other as constantly changing magnificent beings, rather than objectifying each other as static ideas/ concepts through our minds.