Yoga of the Heart: Sinking into Forgiveness

February 18th, 2014

500 hour yoga certification programBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

The month of February is replete with images of diamond rings, dozens or red roses and heart-filled gifts of all shapes and sizes. The sentiments of these expressions of love can be heart-warming or heart numbing, depending on one’s experience with other people. The experiences that we have with family, friends and romantic partners form the fabric of our very being. Many of these experiences may have been filled with love, laughter and tenderness, while other experiences may have left us breathless with the pain of loss, disappointment and betrayal.

The grief and loss that we experience when a relationship ends is often held in the Heart chakra region of the body. When grief is lodged in the Heart chakra, this delicate area often closes down due to the constriction of the breath and the tensing of muscles along the front side of the body and behind the heart area in the thoracic spinal region of the upper back. A constricted Heart chakra is easy to spot. The person often has slumped shoulders, a collapsed chest area and is leaning forward in an unconscious attempt to physically protect his or her heart from further damage.

The practice of Yoga offers us many different tools to release the visceral experience of pain and loss, by gently encouraging us to turn our minds toward the inner awareness of the divinity in our own hearts. One of the obstacles to experiencing this deep and abiding love in our own beings is holding on to past resentments and anger. As a Yogi or Yogini, actively working towards releasing unresolved emotions and lingering negativity would ease our bodies and minds of dense, constrictive energetic patterns.

* The Rose Meditation for Forgiveness

A very nourishing and healing meditative practice for forgiveness is the Rose Meditation. It is a nice contemplative meditation that can be easily practiced at the end of your Yoga session as you rest in Shavasana. It is optimal to set aside at least 10-15 minutes to practice the Rose Meditation during Shavasana. Additionally, using a Yoga bolster under your knees, wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and placing an eye pillow over your eyes will help to facilitate a deep sense of safety and release during the Rose Meditation.

When you are ready to practice the Rose Meditation at the end of your Yoga practice, you may wish to put some warm socks on and to gather a Yoga bolster, blanket and an eye bag, if you are using these props. It is also a good idea to turn off your cell phone, if you are able to, so that you will not be disturbed. When you are ready, place your props appropriately and lie back in Shavasana. Take a few, deep breaths and place your right hand over your heart and your left hand on your abdomen, just below your belly button.

Feel the rise and fall of your own breath. Feel the earth beneath you and the care and love that you took to take care of yourself during your Yoga practice today. To begin the Rose Meditation, bring to mind a situation or person with whom you have unresolved or painful feelings. Pay close attention to the energy of your Heart chakra and the depth of your breathing. Keep your breathing deep and continual. Do not hold your breath, this will only cause more tension.

Set an inner intention of forgiveness, lightness and release. Do not dwell on the negative memories; simply bring them to mind for a few moments. As you review the situation in your mind that caused you pain, release the story that you tell yourself about the situation to the divine light pulsating in your own heart. As you inhale, visualize the gentle color and fragrance of a pink rose. Shift your internal attention from the painful situation or memory to the divine fragrance and perfection of the pink rose in your mind’s eye.

Breathe in the delicate fragrance and, as you exhale and release any negativity or misunderstanding as you sink into the earth below you. Allow your body to be held by the floor beneath you as the Yoga bolster and the warm blanket that surrounds you gently cocoon you. Breath deeply and gently. Fill your Heart chakra with the beauty and fragrant scent of the pink rose you have envisioned. Release the heaviness of any negative emotions you may have been harboring with each exhale and rest for a time in the safety, tranquility and beauty of this moment.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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2 Responses to “Yoga of the Heart: Sinking into Forgiveness”

  1. […] Yoga of the Heart: Sinking into Forgiveness […]

  2. […] Tags: end of your yoga practice, experience of pain and loss, facilitate a deep sense of safety, heaviness of any negative emotions, in the thoracic spinal region, protect his or her heart, the fabric of our very being Posted in Yoga and Meditation | 1 Comment » […]

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