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  • rachelcostigan3

Port in a Storm

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Drawn to yoga from an early age, for many years I was an intermittent student. Regularly distracted by life, yoga would get left behind as I was blown along by other priorities. However, it was always my first port of call in an emotional storm, once I found enough wind in my sails to navigate out of the doldrums where I usually washed up.

After a particularly stormy emotional journey, I decided it was time to make yoga a priority, and found refuge at Mandala Yoga Ashram.

My heart was the compass which navigated me to this spiritual home. I had been torn between my mind's insistence I would be irresponsible to desert a job which I loved in many ways; and my heart's certainty that moving to Mandala was what I needed. After two weeks of being torn between these two voices, I made a second visit hoping for some clarity. A departing resident called Mangala, pinned a note to the notice board the morning she left: 'follow your heart'. Although meant for everyone, I felt this note provided an answer to my indecision. At the Ashram I immersed myself for 9 months in the wider landscape of yoga. The soothing rhythms of chanting helped quieten the mind, whilst karma yoga gave me a method for taking yoga into daily life with me.

After I set sail for the wider world again, I determined I would find a heart centred yoga teacher. It wasn't long after the intention was set that I saw a poster for Heart of Living Yoga.

I had become accustomed to finding 'headspace' in meditation: a sense of expansiveness in the mind, as though the physical boundaries of the head have dissolved and consciousness exists in infinite space. The Heart of Living Yoga approach clearly guides us to find that sense of spaciousness in our hearts, something other yoga traditions I encountered had pointed to, but I seemed to have misread the directions. It felt like I was starting again, as I redirected my focus and learnt to allow a softening in the heart space.

Whilst it was tempting to return to the serenity of a spacious mind, I sat with this change of perception. When the sense of heart space flowered it transformed my yoga practice. Whilst the headspace gave me calm clarity, finding heart-space adds a sense of bubbling joy.

Red boat at harbour in the evening sun
Tranquil evening in Wells port

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