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Monday, January 9, 2012

Unbreak your heart

It has been a very strange weekend. During my practice on Friday, I decided to do a few rounds of Chakrasana or the Wheel Pose. It didn't seem challenging enough, so I decided to practice a few rounds of one legged wheels.  All good, no problems. Come sunday morning, I had the worst headache and then Emre (the husband) and I had a small tiff. I couldn't take it, I started crying and I didnt stop until I fell asleep at night. I think I scared Emre with all my crying, but the truth is I had no idea why I was so bloody upset! I simply could not stop. It felt cathartic yet painful. I could not understand this heavy fist of sadness inside me.

Today I woke up, I'm tired from a day of crying, I am not sure how I will face students, will they be able to tell from looking at my face? But why was I so heartbroken, what was that? And then I started to think back, what happened? Had I taken any medicine? Done something different? And the only thing I  kept coming back to was the wheel pose. Did the wheel do something to me? 

I used to loathe back bends, I would arch back just a little and get dizzy, reach for my heels in camel and I'd see spots in front of my eyes. There was simply no way I would ever do a back bend, my body was just not built for it.  But is that really true? Is my body not built to do the pose or is my mind unwilling to do the pose?  Since those dizzying spells I have come a long way and I now see that it wasn't my body that stopped me from doing the poses, but the blocks I had created in my mind.

Anahata or the heart chakra is the fourth chakra.  In Sanskrit, the word anahata - means unhurt, un-struck and unbeaten (Source: Wikipedia) It is located at the center of the chest, behind the spine. Associated body parts are Lungs, Heart, Bronchi, Thymus Gland, Arms and Hands, Respiratory Systems, Muscles. It deals with balance and love.  It's psychological functions are Love, Acceptance, Self-Control, Compassion, Guilt, Forgiveness, Harmony, Peace, Renewal, Growth and Relationships (Source: It is seen as the bridge between the masculine and the feminine, the physical and the emotional. 

I believe that one of the main reasons we hunch is because we are subconsciously protecting our hearts. 'I will defend my heart to the end!', its almost like we take a boxer's stance against the world.  And each time we are hurt, our hopes crushed and our hearts let down, our shoulders have hunched a little more to protect our fragile soul. Our energy flow has been interrupted and we have built emotional barriers. Without realizing it, we have become less vital, more fearful, less alive, and more shut down.The pain has become part of our skin, muscles and organs.

There is also the whole 'bending or looking back aka, your past'. We all have events we'd like to forget or are not ready to revisit just yet. Some stories worse than the others. Have we dealt with every unpleasant thing from our past? No, backbends are not easy, it takes a strong spine and heart, but it also takes guts. 

You are trying to undo years of sadness that has built into your muscles. You have to unlearn holding in your breath and your emotions, know that it is okay to let go and let your heart shine. No, backbends are not easy, but once you do them, it is incredibly exhilarating. You untie every knot, every gasp, every tear. Unwire your brain's urge to lead you, and trust your heart to guide you into peace.  You become an explorer and develop a curiosity about your body and life. You become comfortable in your own skin.  You are finally home.

And so on that friday, when I did Chakrasana, I had released something that had become a part of my being, my very skin. Something I am sure I didn't need and I think I am glad to be rid of.  I am afraid to think about what it specifically was, I am scared to face that monster, but with doing wheel on that day, I have rolled a little closer to my home within.  

You and I are Anahata -  unhurt, un-struck and unbeaten.


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