When we think about Valentine’s Day, images of hearts, flowers and chocolates might start bubbling up in our brains. But what is this day really about? And what if we don’t have a significant other, spouse or child to share gooey sentiments and sweet confections with?
If we’re always looking outside of ourselves for love, it can leave an inner void in the depths of our hearts. It’s essential to nourish ourselves with self-love and acceptance in order to be able to truly love another. However, building a bond with self means taking time to turn inwards and recognize our own personal needs, and all too often we’re either on an impossible search for the perfect mate, enmeshed in a relationship where we’ve lost our sense of individuality and personal power, or going through a break up that has left us feeling, well, broken. What we don’t feel when we’re struggling with these intense and uncomfortable emotions is that we are in fact perfect, whole and complete within our hearts.
A simple yet powerful meditation technique you can use to release emotions such as sadness, fear, anger and disappointment is Sat Yam, which means “purification of the heart.” Here’s how you do it:
- Find a comfortable seat on the floor, on a cushion, or in a chair and lengthen your spine up as you relax your shoulders down your back.
- Rest your hands, palms down (this tends to be more grounding and calming) with the thumb and first finger together together, on the tops of the thighs.
- Close your eyes bringing the gaze inwards and allow all the facial features to relax with a long, soft exhale through slightly parted lips.
- Bring your attention to your heart and notice without judging what it feels like to rest your awareness there. What emotions or feelings are residing within this energetic center? Does it feel hard and rigid? Murky and dark? Or maybe there is a heaviness or dullness. Without engaging in a storyline about what you feel, simply take note. Then bring your attention to the base of the spine, which is where these emotions are rooted – where our Avidya, or ignorance of our true nature, lies.
- On an inhalation silently repeat the mantra Sat as you collect all of the turbulent emotions and challenging feelings from the base of the spine and draw them into your heart center, uprooting them and purifying them.
- On an exhale silently repeat the mantra Yam, the mantra for the heart, and exhale them from the heart center straight out through the crown of the head.
- Repeat for at least 5 minutes, and then gently let the mantra go. Allow yourself to feel and observe the healing effects.
- With your attention still inwards, envision your heart center glowing a beautiful emerald green light, alive, vibrant, perfectly whole and complete. Allow that feeling to permeate your entire being.
Love is the greatest way to heal ourselves, others and the world around us.
Sissy St. John has been practicing and teaching Yoga since 1998 on both the West and the East Coast. She trained in LA with the original founders of YogaWorks; Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller, and studied extensively with Annie Carpenter, Sean Corn, Vinnie Marino. In 2006 Sissy moved from LA to New York to study under the guidance and tutelage of Yogiraj Alan Finger, creator and founder of ISHTA Yoga. She now resides permanently in Manhattan with her husband and little boy, and teaches around the city – private clientele, corporates, and at YogaWorks on the Eastside. Aside from yoga her great passions include baking, writing and creating her scentsational aromatherapy blends!
Her popular Prenatal DVD as well as her Organic Beauty Oils are both available on her website: www.sissystjohn.com and Etsy.com/ SissyStJohn. Follow her on twitter @yogasissy