Soften the Heart

“As humans, we take turns letting go and being hit. Love softens this process, and peace slows it down, until in the moments that are blessed, we seem to play catch with what we need.”

Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

In our yoga classes, we recognize the breath as prana: life, and the vitality of the spirit. In our practice, we take time establishing our breathing as we move the breath up and down through the lungs. In our exhale, a swe take our breath down from ┬áthe top of our lungs, we remind ourselves to “soften’ our heart, unlike our solar plexus, belly button, and pelvic floor, which we contract with the exhale. we do not want to contract our heart. That would make it hard. In yoga, our practice reminds us to open our heart, to be open, to be soft in the heart.

We take this lesson of opening our heart and softening it into our daily living. When we deal with difficult people, we can remind ourselves to find that nice deep inhale, which settles our body into our parasympathetic nervous system, which is a state of peace, but then we want to notice the exhale, with that all important softening of our hearts toward that person. Only in this softening of our heart can we begin a process of healing our own pain and moving forward in our own journey.

Mark Nepo reminds us that there are times when we need to let go of the hurt, the anger, the betrayal and all those negative emotions that surround a person or event. And then there is a time to take the hit, to be present in that person or event. If our heart is hard, it will break, but if our heart is soft, it will take the hit and not break.


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