In this live recording, you will be guided into a deep state of openness and receptivity to explore cultivating positive qualities of the heart. You will first be guided sequentially through the layers of the body working from the periphery of the skin and progressively deepening the attention through the muscles, bones, organs, fluids and cells, arriving at the animating force that lies underneath the physical structure. Many listeners find it much easier to follow this unique physical progression than those offered in classical Yoga Nidra practices.
Drawing on the work of Angeles Arrien*, we then work with the polarities of one of the four heart qualities and their opposites: open hearted/closed hearted, strong hearted/weak hearted, whole hearted/half hearted and clear hearted/ confused hearted. This practice helps to build our ability to be with our emotions. As we cultivate positive qualities of heart (those that lead us towards our true Nature) and learn to become comfortable with the negative qualities of the heart (those that lead us away from our true Nature), we can learn that these qualities are neither good nor bad, but simply useful information arising to awaken us.
Before you begin the practice of Yoga Nidra for Opening the Heart, it may be helpful to choose one particular pair of opposites that most speaks to you at this time in your life. Take a moment now to read the summary of the polarities of the heart qualities below. Then progress through each pair of opposites (e.g. Open or Closed Hearted) and simply ask which you feel to be most true at this time in your life. You may want to journal, exploring some of the reasons you feel the way you do. You can also do this work with a partner or friend in a dyad process. Choose a polarity and offer each other 5 minutes of uninterrupted speaking/listening time. It will take you 10 minutes to process each polarity, 40 minutes in total. You can then choose which polarity seems most significant to you in your life right now and work with it in the process of Yoga Nidra. After practicing Yoga Nidra reflect on a practical step you can take to move in the direction of becoming more open, strong, full or clear-hearted.
The Polarities of the Heart Qualities:
Closed heartedness reveals where we still hold resentments and old disappointments instead of expressing the trust, curiosity and generosity of the open heart. Closed heartedness suggests that we have forgiveness work to do, and where we may need to mend our relationships.
Half-hearted behaviors reveal our ambivalence and lack of commitment, which create mixed messages, mistrust and misunderstanding. When we are full-hearted, we are clear, consistent, and trustworthy.
Weak-heartedness indicates where we lack the courage of the strong heart to be ourselves or to face conflict in honest, creative ways: instead we may tend to appease others and avoid conflict, skirting around important issues that are in need of airing and resolution.
Clear Heartedness is a sign that we are aligned with our soul’s purpose, rather than being confused by contradictory information from our intellect, ego, conditioning or messages from others. When we are not clear we often need more time in solitude and silence to connect with ourselves. Determining what is of lasting value, we can then proceed in a skillful way.
* The Second Half of Life by Angeles Arrien (Sounds True Inc., 2005).
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