Warm, not cold

Kathy Krugerlove, yoga18 Comments

warm-hands

Sometimes (a lot of the time) in true yin-yang style, I try to understand something through understanding its ‘opposite’.

I like to use simple analogies – we understand fast because we know what slow feels like, we know dark because we experience light. And we understand relativities – a racing car driver’s fast is going to be quite different to a ‘Driving Miss Daisy’s’. We also know that some things (perhaps most things) don’t stand comparison – is a sunrise more beautiful than a sunset – moot point! (see random sunrise and sunset shots below, ahhh).

So it is with cold and hot – we think it’s cold in Queensland as elsewhere in Australia (with the exception of Northern Territory and much of Western Australia) scoffs (and freezes). But hey, you probably have central heating. In Fiji they shivered a little in the warm winter sun (or at least on balmy evenings).

So when I think of compassion, I consider its antonym (according to good old Roget) and find the world ‘coldness’. 

I feel a chill up my spine (like I’ve had an encounter with evil).

I certainly don’t’ want to be the opposite of compassionate, so the question is, how do I show more compassion?

With warmth?

Brought up Catholic I was trained indoctrinated to think of compassion in grand gestures – in selfless giving, sacrifice, even saintliness. The church would run an annual Lenten Project Compassion, so it was associated with setting up orphanages and providing water, power, education and sanitation. It had to be some kind of big project, day-to-day kindness simply wouldn’t suffice (or so it seemed).

While I try to be giving and we support select charities and projects (plug Rafiki Mwema), I know that I don’t give enough of my time (what time I have to give, I guess).

I laugh at the saying that we ‘make time’ as though it can be manufactured, and I marvel at people who seem to find time immeasurable. Like the family friend who died recently, aged just 35. She was born with significant physical limitations and had ongoing health problems, yet she devoted so much of her short life to volunteer activities. She was an inspiration with her courage, independence and generosity of time and spirit. I feel humbled.

I feel shocked and incredibly sad at the tragic loss of a close work colleague, also in her mid-thirties, who leaves a husband and two children under 5.  My heart breaks for them. Time is scarce again and infinitely precious. I feel scared.

It’s been a shit week or so!!!

Then there’s the tragedy of the Nice terror attack, mass loss of life in Turkey and the sad yet inevitable cycle of life and death – how can compassion really make a difference in the midst of such suffering.

So I come back to warmth – how can we spread more of it amongst grand acts of generosity, selfless deeds of sympathy and bravery and simple acts of kindness?

We can open our hearts, and so literally radiate the warmth and light of love.

Just because we can’t save the world, doesn’t mean we can’t make it better.

According to the Heart Math Institute Director of Research Rollin McCraty, the heart is a powerful source of energy, more powerful that the brain.

“The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. The electrical field as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG).”

I’ve written about cracking open the heart before to open the energy of the heart chakra – here are couple of yin yoga postures you might like to try to help you – and help heal the world.

take a leap of faith

This is not Leap of Faith posture but it is Miss Yin flying

Leap of Faith  

Place a bolster cushion across your mat and lie over the top of it, so that your thoracic spine at the ‘bra strap’ line is lying over the bolster. Keep your legs long and allow your shoulders and neck to soften over the back of the bolster, bringing your arms out to the side in a crucifix position. If you have the shoulder range, the arms can be extended overhead. Use blocks to support the shoulder/arm opening if required. (If you don’t have a bolster cushion a tightly rolled up thick blanket will do).

Hold the position for 5-7 minutes, noticing the softening of the shoulder blades into the bolster, expansion of the rib cage, deeper breathing in the chest and an opening in the armpits.

The posture supports a strong opening of the heart chakra (Anahata) and an opening of the throat chakra (Vishudda). It ‘cracks open’ the back of the heart between the shoulder blades, a deep place where we can store past pain and feel like we have ‘the weight of the world on our shoulders’.

IMG_3580.278164622_std

Anahata (without bolster cushion) Image Credit

Anahata 

Named for the heart chakra, this posture is a literal melting of the heart forward. It is an expression of openness and vulnerability– a bowing forward to the power of love.

A strong backbend, it acts to massage out stress pumped out by the adrenals at the base of the spine in the form of adrenaline, norepinephrine and particularly cortisol, which we continue to produce when we stew on our problems.

Kneeling up with the knees at hip width distance apart, slide the torso forward as you scooped out a concave in the back, bringing the chest and chin to the mat with arms outstretched in front of you and the sit bones (bottom) in the air. If required, place a bolster cushion under the forearms and allow the chin to rest on it to support softening into the posture.

Hold the posture for approximately 3-4 minutes.

In my last post I wrote about connection by focusing on what divides us, concluding that I’d simple settle for tolerance – not too much to ask for!

But we must move beyond tolerance, to acceptance, to friendliness, to warmth.

And from warmth we can move to empathy, concern, care, kindness, love and genuine compassion.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Kathy X

Namaste sign off_edited-1

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Kathy KrugerWarm, not cold

18 Comments on “Warm, not cold”

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Deb – I think looking at opposites, or compliments can give us a fresh perspective. A lot of the time we tend to think too black and white and linear.

  1. Deborah

    I’ve just had some surgery so can’t do any moves at the moment but I’ve done this movement – from memory my legs have to be a bit wider than usual to accommodate my fat belly!

    And it’s so true that some things just shouldn’t be compared. Why do we feel the need to rate and score everything I wonder. I’m as big a culprit as anyone!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Yin yoga is all about being organic, doing what your body wants you to do rather than being rigid with alignment. So there are props and lots of adjusting to account for flexibility, shape, strength etc. Hope you can try some – it is quite restorative and may help after surgery too. I think we compare everything, far too much, but when it comes to sunrises and sunsets we really are taking it too far!

  2. EssentiallyJess

    I was recently talking to a friend about the power of the heart. It’s an amazing organ. Capable of so much more than we know.
    I like the idea of exploring things by considering the opposite. That’s such a powerful way of looking at things.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Jess – I really find I understand things better sometimes in looking at opposites and also how we negatively perceive things when we could turn our perception positive – like soft not being weak. But then you and I are both word nerds! X

  3. mummywifeme

    Thank you for those poses. I will definitely try them. I’m so sorry to hear about your colleague and friend. How devastating. I hope things start to settle down for you soon x
    Ps. Gorgeous pic of your dancer.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Renee – I’m off to the service for my work friend this afternoon, so can’t do any work right now – getting around to responding to your thoughtful comment. X

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Jodi – I think we can tend to put our hands up in the air and say there’s nothing we can do because the problems are large, but there are always small things.

  4. Kit@Life through the haze

    What a beautiful dancer you have! You have had a crappy week I think there is a bit of that going around. I love these poses. What could I use as a bolster if I dont have one at home? Rolled towels?
    Thank you for sharing these poses. I hope that next week gives you some clearer air. xoxo

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Hi Kit – If your roll up a thick blanket tightly that should work – you need something that is reasonably firm for support, not too soft. Towels might work if you roll a few together tight enough. Yes it’s been a shitty time, hoping for better times next week.

  5. Denise Mooney

    What a shit week indeed Kathy. I hope it has improved and I’m very sorry about your friend. I love those poses especially the second one. And you’re so right. We can all make a difference. It’s the small actions every day that add up. It doesn’t have to be something huge.

  6. Grace

    Lots of tragic news all around last week :( But I love your quote – “Just because we can’t save the world, doesn’t mean we can’t make it better.” So, so true x

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