As we’d left planning our Easter break to the last minute this year, we had almost given up the idea of going anywhere, then decided on a location a day before leaving due to a friend’s suggestions, found our accommodation by chance when we got there and discovered this beautiful beach while driving about. It all felt perfect in its spontaneous arising, making choices on the spur of the moment. Although not usually drawn to practicing Yoga Asana outside, I was inspired by the location, the freshness of the air and the clarity of the light. It seemed like the right way to respond to the place, especially with this asana, Virabhadrasana and its heart opening qualities. So while we often feel its necessary to carefully plan and direct life, its refreshing to instead take each moment as it comes, to relax into lifes arising, to let each in-breath be the inspiration that it is for us, to feel the movement of life around us and through us, to let that intelligence and power in the breath express itself through our bodies, minds and lives. To be life as it moves as inspiration and expiration.
This is part of the freedom and spontaneity that develops from the practice of Yoga, instead of thinking that we have to act in the same old ways and patterns, that we can approach each moment, each day as new, which is its reality, and respond to it as we feel guided to, by what feels appropriate to the situation or circumstance. Although we can recognise that from a contemporary perspective, the mind is mainly originated from and located in the brain, Yoga postulates that consciousness within ourselves, from which the mind itself ultimately comes, arises from the Hridayam, the subtle heart centre. Think of all the sayings we have about following your heart, listening to the heart, which indicates that something of this clarity of vision, knowing, feeling that comes from that point is understood in all cultures and places.
Hridayam can be translated as hri to give, da to take, yam in balance, so we can summarize its meaning as that which gives and takes in perfect balance, this happens to the physical heart with its blood flow, the breath in that area with its flow and this subtle centre, with it giving us the ability to take in our experience of life and give to life through action in perfect balance. So as a seat of intuition within ourselves, this point can guide and direct all our travels whether its through each day or all of life with a profound wisdom and knowledge that is much deeper and informed than the transient patterns and habits that we have learned over time.
So even though it’s an oft repeated phrase, sometimes its valuable to remind ourselves to trust in this unfolding of life, to keep our heart open to it, and let that still, clear intelligence within the hridayam guide us.