HeartWeb

Opening Your Heart … When It Wants To Close

Valentine’s Day is coming up! Most of the time many of us will relish the focus on love and romance, with all of the heart imagery that goes with it. But …what if– for whatever reason–your heart is broken? What if life’s up and downs have plunged you into a place where being open is the very last thing you are inclined to do? Life coach and fellow yoga Stephanie Lazzara has a few words for us on this topic.

Heart opening, opening to love and caring for a broken heart….

How do we keep going when the heart wants to close instead of open? How do we fully feel the pain of a love-loss or the intensity of a growing, deepening love and still stay open?

Instead of trying to resist, contract or pull away, what if, instead, we take this an another opportunity for opening further, deeper, wider to love? It means staying in the uncomfortable present moments. We feel our hearts break and swell and mourn and ache in all of the pain and beauty we hold inside. And then it happens, we crack open, release and push up against all of our edges so that every cell of us becomes love.

Each place we are pushed emotionally or physically out of our comfort zones brings us to a greater awareness of ourselves, to our infinite capacity to love and loving, and towards the radical acceptance of ourselves as the vehicle for this love-light to burst out of every pore of our beings, touching the hearts of all we meet. Our hearts may yearn for a deeper loving, a deeper knowing, a deeper being seen. When we are open, we can access parts of ourselves that are hidden or that we hide in the shadows that make us whole and wholly lovable–just as we are.

How can you gently push yourself to expand further into love? When your body is at a limit of a pose, when your heart is breaking, where can you go deeper? While you are there, notice all the parts that come alive, even the parts that are hurting, and then ask yourself:

What does your deepest heart yearn for? Then go in further into this yearning …


Stephanie Lazzara is a certified professional coach, dancer, dance educator, and a regular BYPS practitioner. She specializes in helping her clients navigate through difficult life and relationship transitions and find more ease, clarity, and possibilities in the process of change.

Neyda

Student Story: Neyda Martinez

Why did you start practicing Bikram yoga and how long have you been practicing?

I was walking down Flatbush Avenue one day in a state of deep pain and emotional anguish, having lost my mother just a few months earlier. Feeling like an empty shell of my former self, I was “running on empty” when quite suddenly an ethereal voice whispered in my ear and directed me to “just melt the pain away.”  When I happened to look to the right, there was the Bikram Yoga studio! I’d never ever thought of doing Bikram Yoga before.

Coincidentally, the day before, I’d met Robbin Farrell. She joyfully stopped to say hello and acknowledged me for no reason but to say how lovely the flowers that I had just purchased were—sunflowers and white lilies. The following day, when I walked into the studio … there she was!  I started my practice in May of 2012 and I’ve kept it up ever since.

How has your practice affected your life?

When I started the practice, the physical and emotional pain was so great, I’d cry before, during, and after Pada-Hasthasana (Hands to Feet pose). I suffer from back pain and sciatica due to a series of falls I’d had in my early 20s and was also experiencing excruciating knee pain for nearly a year which my doctor could not explain.

It only took me a few weeks to get hooked. I bought both Bikram books and studied them religiously. I could feel the healing effects of the series early on, and the smallest gain in strength or an inkling of flexibility as I continued to practice got me excited. I was also grateful for the new-found ability to rest and to quickly rid my mind of any annoying thoughts and stupid chatter. However, it was the community of kind yogis at the studio and the compassion of the instructors that gave me the most hope. Reflecting now, I must have really been a mess with all of that crying during and after class, but at that time, I felt a break-through was on the horizon. A year later, my sister came with me to a class. She now practices too. And, though we live in different cities, we share this connection; it’s the most beautiful gift in the world!

What keeps you coming back for more?

Well, I’m hooked for life. No matter what I do … dance, ride my bike, or work out at the gym, the Bikram series is my priority and my anchor. I love that these postures are among the oldest forms of physical therapy. I have faith in the method and the discipline in keeping up with the practice. I do believe that it’s a mind-body-spirit connection with yourself and the universe around you that is developed and strengthened. Now, every day on the mat is a day for which I am grateful. I never leave a class without having learned or experienced something new. The hardest part for me sometimes is just simply looking at myself: I see my fears and I see my vulnerabilities. But there’s nothing to do in that hot room but to work through it. On days when I am exhausted or feeling especially challenged or fidgety, I remember to smile (a little or a lot) during my practice. I love the simplicity of it all.  A mat and a bottle of water and a little nourishing food is all we really need. Well, that and love!

Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?

Well, it’s not my advice but rather the words of a fellow yogi who shared this with me recently after a class: “This yoga is life; it has nothing to do with feeling comfortable. We must learn to live outside of our comfort zone.”

My simple advice: Don’t give up! If this particular type of yoga is not for you, try other forms of yoga until you find the right one for you. You deserve the peace, the health, and the mental clarity that comes with it. You are worth it.

ScottWeb2

Student Story: Scott Smith

Why did you start practicing Bikram yoga and how long have you been practicing?

I began in January 2011 after starting an exciting (and high-stress) desk job in Philadelphia. I needed relief from the sedentary activity of desk jockeying all day, and there was a Bikram studio right around the corner from the office. The practice helped with physical, mental, and general well-being, and I loved the teachers.
How has your practice affected your life?

I have Increased energy, appetite, physical stamina, mental clarity, overall happiness … the full bag. I wish I could practice all the time!
What keeps you coming back for more?

This yoga makes me feel healthy, young, and vibrant. It impacts every other activity in my life in a positive way. I crave that burst of inspiration that I always get right after my yoga class.
Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?

Just go, no excuses. Getting to the hot room is the hardest part. Everything falls into place once you practice regularly.

Karen4Web

Student Story: Karen Del Moral

 

Why did you start practicing Bikram yoga and how long have you been practicing?

In 2006 I was going through a divorce, and one day I was walking on Flatbush Avenue on my way from court and stumbled upon my life saver. I had never practiced yoga before but I knew I needed to do something, I was always so angry and sad during that period, and most of all tired from not sleeping at night.I noticed some happy sweaty people in that studio on Flatbush Avenue and a guy (ChiChi) gave me a flyer. The next morning I took the 10:00 am class; As soon as we began the standing series, I kept thinking, “What the hell did I get my self into? All these people are surely CRAZY and out of their freaking mind!!!” I grabbed my mat and tried to exit the room but the teacher, Namjin, talked me into staying and just laying on my mat. I think I finished the first breathing exercise and then I really did grab my mat as soon as I could and exited the class, however that night, for the first time in 2 1/2 years I slept thru the night and woke up feeling like a different person. Strangely enough I wanted more, and I showed up for class for the next 6 days of my intro offer. Nine years later BIkram Yoga has become a part of my life, and I am not the same if I don’t get in that hot room. I’ve become one of those crazy happy people!

How has your practice affected your life?

Bikram Yoga has helped me to be a nicer, stronger, and happier person.

What keeps you coming back for more?

I cannot live without it. My practice is my medication, my therapist, my drug … its an essential part of my life.

Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?

The class you don’t feel like going to is always your best class – mind over matter!