What does your heart truly desire? Is it even yogic to desire anything? And how closely are you connected to the feelings behind your actions?
For a long time, I thought my desires were money, a career, a house - all things which represented security, safety and control. As a result everything I did was driven towards achieving those things, to the point that at once stage in my life my whole life revolved around my job, and unsurprisingly enough, I was not happy.
When I came to yoga, it was because my body ached, and yoga made me feel better. There was nothing more to it, but gradually, it became a bigger part of my life until I found myself doing things that I couldn't have previously imagined, such as giving up my career, my steady wage, and that perceived sense of security.
Yoga helped me to realise that the feelings of security that I longed for came from traumatic experiences where I had learnt that I was not safe. Experiences of grief taught me that nothing is certain in this world, and experiences of relative poverty left me feeling - and feeling is the key word - vulnerable and worthless.
The more I learnt to be in my skin, the easier it was to begin to feel my emotions. The safer I felt in my body - using my legs in standing postures, for example - the safer I felt in the rest of my life. As I learnt to trust myself to try new postures, so I was able to trust more in my relationships, mainly my relationship to Spirit, to God, to the idea of something far greater than my concerns over job titles. Gradually, gradually, as it become safer to feel, so it became easier to act. And so, my journey had began.
Yoga is not an easy choice. It requires practice which challenges the mind as well as the body. It is a discipline, but one that only works when accompanied with kindness. Just when I think I've had enough, when I long with rose tinted glasses for my old life, I am reminded just how much of a blessing it is to have yoga in my life. I remember that I feel so much gratitude for my life and all of its lessons, and it is that which makes the heart sing, and this which connects us to our desires.
Yoga is both a journey to one's heart, and a journey to connect with those around us. As we learn compassion and forgiveness to ourselves, so it becomes easier to extend this to others. These are true desires of the heart - to love more fully and more deeply. We may have other desires of course - money, work, home - and there is no reason to feel you should let these go. But understanding where your desires come from, may see them shift.
We sometimes get confused between material and spirit. If I am spiritual, I should be poor; rich people can't be spiritual; it is wrong to desire clothes/sex/food etc. This is old thinking which limits us under the convenient guise of spirituality. Our desires are what take us forward, our desires help us to grow, our desires are our connection to sensuality, to pleasure, and to love. It's just that perhaps yoga will change those desires.
The one simple way to connect to your heart's desire is to feel. To think and analyse a little less, to soften the body and the breath, and to let your edges relax. Feel the chair or cushion you are sitting on. Notices the breath. Relax into the present moment. That's it. And slowly, but surely you will find yourself taking new actions and making different decisions than previously imagined.