Shine Your Heart
Often in my yoga class, when we are either in a cross-legged sitting position or standing straight and tall in Mountain Pose, our teacher tells us, “Shine your heart.” It’s an instruction to pull our shoulder blades back and down, and present our hearts to the world.
It made me think of what this means. When I’m shining my heart, I’m exposed. Standing tall, letting others literally see the place in my body where my heart resides, is a posture of willingness to let others in. It’s a confident stance, but it’s also a vulnerable one.
It’s a contrast to what I often see when I’m out in the world. People walk around the mall or the grocery store hunched over the smartphones clutched a foot from their chests, staring at the ground focusing on the sounds coming through their earbuds, or hugging a grocery cart.
All of these stances are protective. They exclude others; it’s virtually impossible even to make eye contact when the shoulders are stooped and the gaze is lowered. And it makes me sad.
It may just be a posture thing, but it makes me wonder if it’s a vulnerability thing. “Let me draw in and hide myself, so I don’t have to interact with someone who may reject or disapprove of me, or make me feel uncomfortable.”
How about an experiment? Stand up, draw your shoulders towards your stomach, and bow your head. How do you feel?
Now, raise your head and draw your shoulders back, reaching your shoulder blades down towards your hips. How do you feel?
What does it mean for you to ‘shine your heart’?