The heart is a 3 dimensional organ and so when we “open” one side of it, we “close” another. Cuz it’s 360’ of muscle (& more).
It gives cultural insight when we associate opening our hearts with stretching the flesh of our front body and moving outside of ourselves, backward in space physically, and yet forward energetically as we very much move 24/7 in the Western world. Does it open the heart to send it away instead of going deeper within? It looks great on social media pics but what’s the quality of how it feels? Does it make the wisdom and beauty of my heart more influential? Does it permeate my sphere with the unconditional love I seek, nurturing first from within to without?
It’s food for thought, something to ponder: Does going outside myself in asanas that typically limit breath capacity, help me to connect with the emotions within? Often, though not true for everyone, backbending heart openers increase heart rate, turn on the sympathetic nervous system and give good rushes of excitement. And that’s great and sometimes what I really need to tap into courage and strength.
More often than not, however, I actually need to go within, check in with myself and see how I’m feeling. Those deep feelings that aren’t so courageous, that are often darker than bright. And from there the light from the darkness shines. But those forward bending postures lengthening my backbody (the feminine, yin energy of evening, moon, darkness, internalness) sometimes greet me with sadness, loneliness, those feelings that have been there since childhood or even previous lifetimes that come for the ride whether invited or not.
And through the practice of going within, the secret treasures of wisdom unlock their glorious light. Sadness meets relief, loneliness finally has a visitor, so now she can share her stories rather than ruminating, and all the fear of darkness, of not being seen is met with intimate acknowledgment and curiosity and from there great resilience is unearthed. Strength less thunderous than a lion’s roar, but no less awesome and unshakable.
In that practice of going deep inside oneself, all subsequent movement into the world can come from a truly engaged place. From connection rather than dissociation. From centeredness in Self that doesn’t feel worthless and reactive to a world that may or may not find you deserving of their likes.
Try it. Let your heart openers draw you deeper into yourself. Let your relationship with your asana practice transform definitions of what heart opening really is. Forward bend, moving your body forward in space and deeper within your inner dimensions to the realm of your heart and see how it feels. 💜