by Monique Minahan
I place my left hand on my heart and on top of that layer my right.
I don’t move until I feel that familiar thump-thump beating under my hands, as subtle or as strong as it may be. I don’t move until I connect with the aliveness within me.
Anahata, the heart chakra, reminds me of my need for love and my true capacity to love. It asks me to stretch my heart open not just for my friends or family but for every human being on this planet – a major paradigm shift from the more prominent fear-thy-neighbor mentality that threatens to tear our world apart.
This is why I must connect with myself first. I cannot find compassion for anyone else until I find compassion for myself. I cannot welcome another’s pain until I have welcomed my own.
Onto the physical connection of hands to heart, I layer sound. A soft reverberation of anahata’s seed sound yam starts at the middle point of my sternum, this chakra’s kshetram, or front-body location. It travels through my body, piercing the spine, emerging on my back at the actual chakra point, a deep blue flowering like a tattoo over my upper back.
I repeat that cycle until it feels complete, letting the sound shape-shift, becoming a groan or a song or a wail until it naturally tapers into the quietest, softest syllable, matching the beat of my heart.
Alone with my heart I ask her what she has to say. Then I step back to allow her to answer:
Love bigger, she says. You know you can.
She is right but I stay silent. I listen as she questions why I don’t. I give her all my reasons and tell her that the world makes it hard to love sometimes. She reminds me that when I block love from exiting, I also block love from entering. Like breathing out and breathing in.
I begin bhramari pranayama, the humming bee breath. The gentle buzzing sound allows me to listen to my heart without my head thinking of a reply, a response, a defense.
This practice draws me out into the deep waters of vulnerability, the only state of being where I can receive and offer love fully.
As my humming drifts into silence I become aware of akasha, the heart space, and how it shrinks and expands proportionate to my level of fear or love.
I choose love. Not the small love I only offer to those who love me back. The Big Love that does not require reciprocity. The love that is enlarged by our differences instead of threatened by them. The love which the world needs so desperately.
Part 5 of a 7 part series. You can find part 4 here: Manipura, The Navel.
Mo is a writer and yoga teacher who believes in peace over happiness and love over fear. She likes to set her sights high and then take small steps to get there. You’ll find her walking the dirt path behind her house with her little fluffy dog, practicing walking her talk by keeping her head high and her heart open. Contact: moniqueminahan.com