“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher” – Pema Chodron.
Moving towards the season of goodwill, it sometimes seems anything but that. We get overwhelmed by everything we have to do and the stress levels rise. Shops are busy, with everyone rushing around, and we think ‘what on earth can I buy for Auntie Maud or the folks next door’. Instead of it being a pleasure to give, it becomes a chore and we end up even blaming them for being so difficult to buy for.
Yoga can help to relieve some of that stress and bring the goodwill back into the season, so we start to feel the joy of giving, not frustration.
Focusing on the heart is a powerful technique for developing feelings of generosity and gratitude, which in turn will make you feel happier. A posture which opens the heart and gives it a lovely massage is Utkatasana or ‘Chair of the Heart’. It also helps to generate heat, so a great one to warm you up if you’re feeling chilly. We’ll be practicing this posture with the Lotus mudra, which intensifies those feelings of generosity and compassion.
Tip: If someone’s getting you down, imagine them standing in front of you while you do the Chair of the Heart. Visualise your heart opening or glowing like a candle flame and send out feelings of love to them instead of anger, fear or frustration.
Apologies to those of you that love everything about Christmas!