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  • Writer's pictureSona Parmar

The Heart

Yoga is not about standing on your head. It’s about standing in your heart.

- Senior yoga teacher at KYM

Standing in my heart. That’s the last thing I want to do after nearly twenty years of practicing yoga.

The head is where you want to be. The head is rational. The head is clever. The head spots danger.

The heart is stupid. The heart is soft. The heart gets you into trouble.

Why would you actively want to wear your heart on your sleeve? Why would you want to experience life at a level, where you are really that vulnerable? Indeed, why would not want to be rational and focused?

Truth be told, I don’t know.

Arguably, the heart is the place to be and yet, life is simpler when I do just use my head and get on with it. I still find joy in my life, but the joy comes from focus not feeling. No, that’s not true; I do feel. In fact, I enjoy those feelings. But I will no longer be ruled by those feelings.

The Sanskrit word pratyahara is do with a withdrawal of the senses. Think of how a tortoise draws her limbs in to protect herself. In a human, it’s about the senses no longer feeding the mind. It’s about a certain degree of detachment.

You still feel, you still enjoy, you still get involved – but you don’t identify so strongly with whatever you are experiencing, that you live or die depending on how it all pans out.

This requires practice. A lot of practice. The mind is extremely clever at rationalising, making you think that you are being smart when, well, you’re just being stupid.

Stupid - a word I seem to be using a lot these days. Why is it so hard to use our intellect and our fine-tuned powers of discrimination? Why is it so hard for me? Because for all this talk of transformation, no one, including myself, likes change.

And then, something changed.

It’s a bit like being on one of those moving walkways at the airport. I got so used to moving, changing, evolving, growing, that I realised that I don’t like to be still anymore. I don’t think I’m able to be still anymore.

Turns out, I do like to grow and I’m not scared of where it might take me, because somewhere, somehow, inside me, my GPS is set.

I don’t know when and how I set it. Maybe it was when I made the decision that I wasn’t going to keep doing the same things and expecting different results. I had to, finally, start doing things differently.

It is uncomfortable and yet I am developing a strange sort of tenacity in staying here. And as I do, new doors, that I have never seen before are starting to open. I had looked for these doors before but, I promise you, they did not exist. And now they are everywhere.

All because I am aligning to the natural flow of the Universe, and allowing. For me, that doesn’t mean living through my heart.

I can stand in my heart. I can see what’s there. And then, I can decide what to do.

It’s not about being closed, or even hard. It’s purely about being so one-pointed in your focus, that nothing is going to get in your way.

It is a decision that needs to be made every day, sometimes even many times, but it is a decision that is worth it.

So bye bye dear heart (at least for now).

I have work to do.

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