A Heart Practice
As the holiday season is upon us ideas of gifts and giving are flowing in the air.
Gifts can take on many forms. They can be monetary gifts as well as giving of your time or knowledge. They can be nice words or doing a favor for someone. They can even be as simple as making someone a nice cup of fresh tea, a hug or a freshly baked pie. The form of the gift does not matter. It simply is us giving something of ourselves to another. It is said that a gift given from the heart shall always be beautiful and powerful both for the giver as well as the receiver.
Giving with pure intention and an open heart is so important in yoga philosophy.
To give from the heart, you must first be aware that you have one! It is quite difficult to give if you are all shriveled up with anger and resentment. To bring awareness towards your heart enlivens it with consciousness and blood flow and gives vitality to the heart as an organ.
To give something away symbolizes the importance of not being defined or attached to our material acquisitions. Things will always bring enjoyment to us and that is beautiful, but they are temporary. If we are not aware of their transient quality it will lead us to bondage and suffering.
To give out of love and happiness reminds us all that we are given on a daily basis. All that the universe has provided for us. The sunshine to fill our eyes and caress our skin, the delicious fresh food we eat, the water we drink. Being alive. Being grateful for what we have allows us to realize that there is actually very little that we “need”. Everything that we have is enough. Being able to give a lot and be really generous, is the opposite of being greedy and feeling like we don't have enough. Feeling like you are abundant is healthier for the heart than feeling like if you give you are taking away from yourself.
To give a real gift, we must not allow ourselves to be attached to desiring any result.
“Let your concern be with action alone and never with the fruits of your action”_-Bhagavad Gita.
This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of giving. To give and not be expecting a certain an outcome. To give for the sake of giving alone.
Giving with a full and open heart encourages forgiveness . Practiced regularly ,the act of giving allows love and compassion in the heart to flourish.
Yoga postures can be of great benefit for the organ of the heart as well as the emotions therein. One beautiful heart opening posture featured here is Ustrasana.