The other side of the mat

For years I've been attending the early morning yoga retreat week that happens at the change of each season.  For the last couple of years it's been the only time I get to practice with my favorite yoga teacher.  So when my favorite yoga teacher asked if I would lead the spring retreat week I was both disappointed (that I wouldn't get to practice with him) and at the same time incredibly honored and excited to lead it. The anxiety and nerves came later. 

As a student participating in the retreat  I have had first hand experience of it's profound nature. I wasn't, however, prepared for the profound revelation I would experience from the other side of the mat.  

Today is day 3 so the focus of the practice is the heart center.  I was nervous about setting the intention for our practice today.  The struggles with the heart center have been plentiful so it took quite a bit of introspection to try to find words that would inspire a yoga practice.  It reminded me of how inadequate words are. Nevertheless, together, the group shared their thoughts and ideas related to the Anahata Chakra (the heart center). Somehow, through the joint effort of the group, inspiration
was created. 

As I was leading the group through the asana practice I was experiencing a very powerful inner revelation! An intense moment of clarity that I was not prepared for.  I was, after all, in the middle of leading a practice!!  "God, can you hold please?"  "This is really not a good time for me to get distracted!!"  Still, the message persisted.  

What choice did I have but to flow with the message...Open your heart to receive love. 
Whether from yourself or someone else.  Be open to receive.  

My mind quickly races in with reasons why I can't do that.  Why it's not safe to open your heart. 
The mind is such a powerful persuader.  Opening our hearts puts us in a very vulnerable position. 
I would venture to say that feeling vulnerable because of previous hurts is a fairly common experience and it is a convincing argument to keep the heart closed.  Especially if, like me you have 
the false belief that you can still give love without fulling opening your heart.  Sort of like "selective numbing". 

The more disturbing reason my mind came up with is that I'm not worthy of receiving love.  When one of the students was sharing this morning she talked about negative self talk.  I suggested that she ask herself is any of it is true.  I suppose I should start there myself.   My initial response is to try to figure out why I have this belief.  Where did it come from?  How long have I carried this belief? How has it impacted me?  And, of course, who's to blame? 

Instead, today I will simply recognize it as a false belief that does not serve me and release it.  It's a burden I suspect I've carried for lifetimes.  It's too heavy to carry anymore.  

I am worthy of receiving love and I will continue to open my heart to receive it.  When I feel myself closing down I will gently remind myself that I am worthy.  Combining this new practice of opening to receive love seems to go hand in hand with my practice of accepting only what is being offered freely.  Being receptive rather than reaching will be the theme.

I'm remembering something I read in David Frawley's book about Soma.  It said something like the sun represents our striving towards God and the moon represents the Grace of God flowing towards us.  Maybe the moon practices that I've been doing were preparing me for this revelation. 


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