I always have loved the idea of what the word YOGA means. It means to be yoked to or in unity with.
I’m always amazed at how Yoga speaks to me about the opening of the heart in regards to keeping the core stable and strong. I love the saying, ” Follow your heart but take your brain with you”, because isn’t it true that often our hearts can FEEL without truly THINKING? When we take the brain with us in the following of our hearts, we FEEL, but in that feeling mode we can also make the wisest choices for ourselves. When we as teachers speak to our students saying, ” Open your heart” in a pose, we speak that from the place of first making sure that the core is stable and uncompromised. Our heart rests right over the roots that we lock into. So, we are telling our students to expand and lift from the heart without compromising the core that holds it altogether underneath. ( adapted from Nadine Sardini’s teaching)
This whole idea in the Scripture to be “rooted and grounded in love” growing UP into Christ, brings with it this same connotation of being rooted so deeply that you become grounded and sure footed YOURSELF first, and then you can move out into EXPRESSION of that said value. That is something that one grows into as they learn who they are, and though it can be “taught” with words, one must learn it experientially for it to become “THEIR” truth. In my opinion, only when something becomes TRUTH to YOU, ( no matter what it is) can you actually have the confidence to root into it and begin that expansion of the heart. Hearsay is only THAT. We can give mental assent to our practice of yoga or we can actually experience it’s power. The same with our core beliefs systems. What we truly believe will be expressed in the long run even if it doesn’t match that which we WANT to believe.
I think the answer then, lies in seeking to find out what YOU truly do believe and want to have at the core of your personal life, because only then will you have that power to lift up through that and expand out from there to impact the World around you. When we compromise our own “spine” to live out someone else’s faith, undo damage and injury can and will most often occur. We often make the spine serve the limbs of our body, rather than the other way around. The limbs should serve our spine. This is a beautiful understanding of spirituality as well. When we move into a pose thinking that the outward expression is what is important and we don’t serve that which it grew out of, we are comprimised and it’s like we are “talking the talk” without “walking OUR walk”. BUT, when we take into account that that which we are serving is the core of who we are, we freely and authentically express outwardly what is already there, and thus, we don’t injur ourselves or others. We are coming from a core stability of faith and action.
So, when you here someone say, ” Open your heart to this or that” we can think about if what they are asking us to do is in line with who we really are at our core. When we know who we REALLY are, we can ask ourself if what they are asking us to do would be authentic with that. Once we figure that out, it isn’t hard to express our posture in the world and stay true to ourselves and our core belief. We must understand this principle as teachers and understand what teachers we are learning from. What is at their CORE? Are they authentic? Are they honest? Is their output coming from a space of honesty and integrity?
A tree roots down deeply because there is water down there nourishing it. Not all things nourish everyone in the same way or resonates with their growth patterns. This is the beauty of allowing God to draw people in the way God does and will. As my friend said to me last night, ” God is always the pursuer and we, the BELOVED.” We never have to “chase God”. If God is running away from us, we should find another one, because we will never have the confidence to love and follow someone who is always running away from us. It’s hard to root into that and just as difficult to express to others too. We cannot live what we do not have, so we can stop putting SO much effort into it. Living from what we HAVE and as we keep growing up into THAT, we find that the opening of our heart becomes easy. We not only walk and talk our own , we discern if others are as well.
TRUE yoga is a philosophy one LIVES, just as one’s personal belief. We can have something as a belief without embracing it as a value. When it becomes our value, it becomes the core of who we are and doesn’t easily uproot. It may bend and weave when the storms hit, but it’s roots go down deeply enough that it will not fall. When we see the storms hitting someone head on, move in and surround them because they may not be as deeply rooted as what they appear outwardly. They may need us to hold them tightly while the shaking occurs. This isn’t to someone’s shame, it’s often just that they have lived in the “hearsay” rather than experiencing it for themselves. This is why it’s so important to KNOW one another so that if ever one of us forgets OUR song, others can sing it back to us. When we are loved in such a way, our roots grow down even deeper and we are truly rooted down to rise up. It’s the authentic ” Namaste'” way.