Expand Your Heart – meditation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lie down in Savasana, somewhere warm, light and bright preferably with a gentle breeze flowing around you.

Your feet are separated about hip-width distance apart.

Your legs are long and loose and the little toes are gently falling outwards towards the floor.

Your arms are nestled beside you and your palms are facing upwards in an attitude of ‘giving and receiving’.

Your eyes are softly closed.  The jaw is soft.

Roll the head from side to side as though you are gently rocking to a melody that you love.

Release your ‘chatty’ mind into the ether.

Spread the shoulders broadly.

Soften the lower back.

It is as though the whole body is melting into the earth that supports you.

Inhale, fill the body with breath

Exhale – release all tension and fatigue.

Absorb the beauty of Savasana.

Sense the breath flowing through you like a perpetual wave.

Begin to notice the pauses between each breath.

Within a pause, bring to mind a memory of sheer beauty….an image, an experience, a sound…one that lifts and expands your heart – one that streams joy through your veins.  Ponder upon this vision.

What can you see?  How do you feel?

Focus upon that experience whilst your heart expands and expands….

Do this breath by breath, thought by thought….

Enter the next pause and the next – sensing a gentle pulsing of the heart…

You may sense a flutter like the beating of a bird’s wings, the rustling of leaves in a tree or a gentle wave tip-toeing into shore…..

Sense this beating of the heart and open it to wonder, radiance, splendor, compassion.

Sometimes we can hear the chant of the heart….’Anahata’

A Na Ha Ta    A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta

A Na Ha Ta    A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta   A Na Ha Ta

Balance the heart centre; feel free, empowered, joyful and bright. You will soon cease to crave for  external ‘love’ for you know that ‘love’ exists deep within…that it is your natural state.

Your heart transforms your energy into ideas, dreams and creations.

Dreams and ideas that come from the heart will manifest.

Distractions and diversions soon dissipate, and the noise of desire and attachment subside. All emotional upheaval dissolves and happiness pervades.

Feel lighter, brighter, more carefree…

Consciously choose to feel this peace, this warmth, the intention to share, to give and to connect.

For this is the expansion of the heart….

P.S. As a postscript, my brother Paul recently took this photograph of his brand new bub. A picture like this lifts my heart…for it exemplifies creation, pure love and sheer beauty.

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Om connect

Some years ago when I was in the throes of creating my yoga tour to India, I came upon a little street in the lovely sea-side fishing village of Kovolam.

It was incredibly hot and I would duck into the shops one after the other for respite from the piercing heat.  These little stores would always beckon me as they were intriguing,  colourful and cool.

On this particular day, I met Raja who welcomed me with a smile as broad as the universe, and an act of kindness that I shall remember to my dying day. He noticed I was wearing the symbol of ‘Om’.  I had worn my silver charm for as long as I could remember.  I have no idea from where I purchased it and usually I don’t remove it.

I felt that for a brief instant Raja was looking within me rather than at me as he suggested he polish the pendant.  I took it off and placed it in his hand and as I did so it simply cracked in half. I was flabbergasted and he just smiled.  “I thought that was going to happen” he said.  “You would have lost it at any moment!”

He didn’t try to sell me a new one (and he had scores of them).  He simply said ‘come back one day and I shall have it ready for you’.

And so one day, I returned to share a cup of Kashmiri tea.  As I savoured the brew,  Raja placed the OM in the palm of my hand. The pieces had been soldered together and the OM was sparkling.  No charge….just a smile….and more tea. Lots more tea!

I believe many friendships are borne out of kindness.  This is one of them.

AUM is a sacred symbol; a mantra said to be the primordial sound from which all other sounds have emerged.

I have heard it expressed as ‘The heart of God’ which in yogic terms would probably be better defined as ‘The heart of the universe’, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and infinite,” meaning all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere, and eternal.

There are so many aspects to this beautiful sound.  Sitting quietly, one breathes it out (aa, au, mm) tapering to an infinite finish (like that of a chime or bell).  You may be able to sense a subtle, peaceful vibration flowing through your being.

There are many aspects to the symbol and some that I find most interesting are:

The letter A symbolises the waking state; the letter U the dream state and the letter M the dreamless sleep state of the mind and spirit. The entire symbol, together with the crescent and the dot, stands for the fourth state, which combines all these states and transcends them (Samadhi).

The letters correspond to the three tenses – past, present and future – while the entire symbol stands for the Universal Power which transcends the limitations of time and remains unchanged.

The three letters also represent the dimensions of length, breadth and depth in the human being, while the entire symbol stands for the one whose wisdom is firmly established in the divine.

The letters A, U and M also stand for the mantra ‘Tat Twam Asi’ (‘That Thou Art’), the realisation of man’s divinity within himself. The entire symbol stands for the liberation of the human spirit from the confines of his body, mind, intellect and ego.

Practise meditating on this gentle sound and feel the peace fill your heart!

Source:

‘The Concise Light on Yoga’ by B.K.S. Iyengar and ‘Calm the Mind’ by Shanti Gowans

Think brightly

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
and trouble will follow you
as the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
Speak or act with a pure mind
and happiness will follow you
as your shadow, unshakeable.

Dhammapada, The Buddha

There is one thing about which I am certain and that is we create who we are by how we think!

We are what we think and the person we become over time is simply a summation of our thoughts.

Have you ever noticed that kind people always speak kindly of others and are generous by nature?  Inspirational people are positive and curious?  Interesting people are inquisitive and lively?  All actions are born from thought.  All that is created comes about through thought.

Faces are sculpted by thought.  Anger, anxiety, contempt, jealousy, sadness are clearly identifiable on many faces that surround us. If these emotions, that are sourced from thought, are clutched on to for long enough, they become ‘set in concrete’, defined by frown lines and clenched jaws.

What is the antithesis?  Well, a smile of course.  And smiles come about through a beautiful thought.

One of the greatest influences in my life is a book called ‘As a Man Thinketh’.  It is my bible. Written in 1902 by John Allen, it has sold in the millions. A tiny book with enormous impact, it has been one of the greatest influences for authors and philosophers alike, such as Napolean Hill and his contemporary Anthony Robbins.

John Allen was probably very much influenced by the Buddhist scriptures too.  Philosophers simply pass these thoughts along……

The following excerpt from this tiny treasure could be deemed as my personal mantra:

“A calm, strong man is loved and revered. For when he is calm he ceases to fuss, and fume and worry and grieve, and instead remains poised, steadfast and serene. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater his success, his influence, his power for good”.

Yes, thoughts drive us nuts at times, particularly the very annoying negative ones!  If I observe a negative one appearing, I create the image of kicking it out my head like a footballer kicking a ball. Off you go into oblivion so you don’t annoy me anymore!

What can we do when the shadow takes over?  Smile; be with those who are bright and light; create a project with a great cause; seek more knowledge; read something gorgeous; watch something entertaining or simply do a good deed for someone else – that will soon make you feel better!

Mind is the Master-power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:-
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Enivornment is but his looking-glass.

John Allen

Savasana – (Yoga Corpse Posture)

Savasana: Die to Live

Letting go isn’t the end of what I know….it is the beginning of what I am about to learn.

I sometimes reflect upon those days when I used to lie on the floor for hours plugged into earphones listening to my favourite music.  Living in a world of ecstasy and delight and away from the burdens of teenage-hood, I would ‘float’ into a state of serenity.

The same calm would overtake me when I ventured down to the beach to watch the clouds manifest their art in the sky and be enraptured by the melody of the waves and the birds.

This is what Savasana means to me now.  I just lie there….just being….not doing.  Tapping into the sounds around me.  Sensing not thinking…..

The yoga posture ‘Savasana’ is translated as the ‘corpse’ pose.  It simply means ‘letting go’ of behaviours, habits, thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve me.

How to:

Lie in a comfortable position on the floor, preferably somewhere warm.  Spread your feet about hip-width distance apart with the little toes falling out to the side.  Your arms are long and loose beside you and the palms are turned up in an attitude of acceptance, surrender, offering and compassion.

If you have difficulty lying on your back, place a rolled-up towel or a bolster beneath the knees. An eye-pad could be good….a soft cozy blanket draped across the body is perfect.

Slide the shoulders down and away from the ears.  Shoulders spreading….lower back releasing.  Drop the jaw and relax the cheeks.  Eyes are softly closed. Feel as though they are falling backwards from the eyelids.  Perhaps you could imagine that you are breathing in and out through the eyes.  Notice what happens to the face when you do this.

Roll your head gently from side to side to release any tension in the neck and shoulders.

Breathe…..breathe…..breathe.  Observe the waves of breath….a gentle rhythmic flow.

As you breathe in, draw in energy, and as you exhale release all fatigue, concerns, strain and pain. Feel as though they are releasing out through the fingertips and toes.

Let go of the ‘thinking mind’.  If the mind jumps from thought to thought just bring your attention back to the breath, or the sensations in the body.  Sink deeper and deeper in to the earth.

Absorb the peace of Savasana.

Release into that sanctuary within, where all knowledge resides and serenity reigns.  Awaken the teacher within.  Retreat into your essence.  Just be.

What Savasana will do for you:

  • Improve concentration
  • Enhance creativity and clarity
  • Release stresses and strain
  • Initiate better quality of breathing
  • Reduce inner conflict
  • Relax the body
  • Calm the mind
  • Restore energy
  • Expand awareness and composure

Enjoy!

Postscript: You may be carrying an injury. Therefore if you would like more in-depth knowledge of what props you can use to lie in Savasana to be a little more comfortable, then perhaps you would be interested in: http://www.yogaartandscience.com/poses/restpos/shavas/shavas.html