By Amy Carpenter, LCSW, CYI
Every heart beats differently and each requires stimulation. In Kundalini Yoga, we cultivate stimulation of the heart chakra at the same time we use rapid breath and movement to massage and strengthen the physical muscle.
But these practices, however important to our health and well-being, are nothing to the experience of true heart connection, because the heart has forever been the fulcrum through which we perceive and understand love.
So how do we strengthen the heart from the standpoint of Love? By massaging the connections that exist in our everyday life.
Just like a raised heartrate strengthens the heart muscle, when we stay in tune with our relationships, we strengthen the fulcrum of our Love capacity. A three-minute stretch pose bathes the heart muscle in blood, much as we bathe ourselves in human unity when we reach out to those we care about; offering gratitude, presence, and where appropriate, release of judgement.
It is in times of discord when the small gestures of human kindness matter so much. And if we keep our eyes and hearts open, they have the power to transform darkness to light: a mother picks up her baby to quiet her crying; a man gently takes his wife’s arm; two strangers courteously help one another cross a crowded street. These moments send glimmers of gladness and recognition to our heart center, reminding us we are indeed…One.
Yoga brings us to peaceful places within that make room for receiving such acts of human kindness. Meditation and mantra increase our capacity to open our hearts to giving, which includes the self. Often that is the relationship that needs the most care.
Staying present to our inner feeling states allows for compassionate commitment to ourselves in a way that is abiding and true. Even the difficult emotions like grief, are made lighter when we agree to feel them with patience, love and understanding. Much like the mother holding her child, we can hold the parts of our hearts that feel broken, and compassionately agree never to abandon ourselves. Thus, in time, we are made stronger, more resilient, and powerful in ways we could never have foreseen. For true power begins with an ability to be vulnerable.
February may mean a lot to people when the 14th rolls around, but Love is an act to be celebrated daily, by widening the doorway of the heart and allowing the small moments of human connection to remind us of who we really are.
Amy Carpenter is a psychotherapist, writer and Kundalini Yoga instructor living in Rockport, Maine. She graduated from the Kundalini Research Institute in 2007 and, outside of a recent writing sabbatical, has taught local Kundalini Yoga classes ever since. Amy has contributed articles to PsychCentral.com, The Asana International Yoga Journal and her own blog, Singlehandedly.me, where she is managing partner. Her writing passion extends to such subjects as: human connection, mindfulness and accessing personal joy. Find her at Amycarpenter.net