The Heart: Deep Cuts

This month we have been exploring all of the basic aspects of the heart: the feelings, emotions and connections that it provides as well as the subtle energies of the heart chakra. But, there are still lesser known and deeper layers of the heart that Ayurveda and Yoga describe to us. These “deep cuts” speak to the expansive quality of the heart chakra as it relates to its element – air.

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Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Bow to the Teacher Within

Om Namah Shivaya

Our final niyama, Ishvar-Pranidhana, is often defined as “centering on your Ideal.” It is a simple pledge to honor the indwelling teacher. Ishvar-Pranidhana is a practice of attunement that brings us to the apex of our study of the niyamas.

This week, make an effort to salute yourself, your teachers and all of those who have come before you. Practice chanting “Om Namah Shivaya” at the end of each meditation or asana practice.  aware-1353780__180

In Sanskrit, the meaning of the chant is:

Om– Ever present, it is the pulse of the universe and the source of our whole being.

Namah–  A word that means to bow.

Shivaya– Literally it means Shiva; but more than that, it represents the inner self.

For your reference, here is an audio link to the pronunciation of Om Namah Shivaya

When understood fully, the phrase translates to “I bow to the inner Self.’ In class, you may have heard me say, “bow to the teacher within”.

A wonderful set of words that expresses exactly how I feel as I end each and every practice. Bowing to the teacher within me is saluting all of my wisdom and where it stems from. It is how I respect my journey and honor all those who have made it possible.

My deepest gratitude!

YOLY Challenge #34: Delve Into the Heart of the Matter


Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to delve into the heart of our yoga practice. Yoga is strongly connected with the word “Namasté”.  Translated as “the light within me salutes the light within you,” the expression is associated with a specific gesture –  the bringing of the hands together so that the thumbs can press toward the heart. We usually use this gesture when we begin or complete our practice, however, this same action may also be used in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), before we begin Sun Salutations, or in balance poses such as Vrksasana (Tree Pose).

This sacred hand position is known as anjali mudra (AHN-jah-lee MOO-dra).

Anjali means “offering” and mudra means “seal” or “sign”.  In general, anjali mudra is used as a posture for returning to one’s heart; whether you are greeting someone or saying goodbye, initiating or completing an action. In class, we salute ourselves and each other and give thanks for our efforts, the teachings and the benefits that the practice brings to us. Symbolically, as you bring your hands together at your heart center, you are connecting the right and left sides of your body as well as your active and receptive natures. Therefore, anjali mudra connects us with the true meaning of the word yoga, which is to unify or yoke together.

Today, on Valentine’s Day, honor the light that is within your heart.

Take this opportunity to reflect on the love that you hold deep inside and share that devotion with others.