Saturday, 22 January 2011

If I only had a heart...

It seems like forever since I blogged...and since I practiced...sigh. Life gets in the way sometimes. But not having active practice angst (I'm sure it'll be back tomorrow!) I'll return to a topic I keep meaning to discuss.

So here's my problem - I am beginning to wonder if I have even got a heart chakra.

Apparently backbends are emotional and all about heart opening (n'est-ce pas?) but thus far, no emotional content for me in the dropbacks - not that I can say the same about the history of my practice, there have been plenty of tears there. Witness my mad meltdowns in triang mukha (thankfully now behind me) and many other emotional outbursts in the past. No it's not that I'm concerned about lack of emotion (and frankly in my life off the mat, often it's more the case that I am too emotional). The issue is this - when I started learning the chakra meditation in Thailand, after a couple of days I could really feel those spinning discs, and the energy moving up the central energy channel and moving into each chakra - until we reached the heart. Maybe it's because it is a less specific or obvious physical area than the throat, or the third eye, but for some reason I would just lose it once we got to that point (only to regain it as we moved on up to the throat). Some days I could feel the heart chakra whilst being guided in the internal sunrise meditation but if the instruction was to sit afterwards allowing our focus to return to the heart - nope, it was gone.
Having tried this chakra meditation a lot since coming home from Thailand I continued to have the same issue - and any "heart openers" I tried left me with the same issue. Of course my brain went crazy over this - what could it mean?? Am I actually a heartless witch? Does it mean that I've got everything locked up inside and I'll never get through the stone walls I've built to protect my heart? Oh yes, full drama-queenitus comes out to support this idea whenever I think of it. In fact, the only time I have ever spontaneously felt anything going on around my heart chakra was in my new year chanting workshop, and again when I returned the following week. So at least I know it's possible, and perhaps this heart activity was responsible for feeling amazing for 3 days after the workshop? I don't know, but if it was, I really want to find a way to tap back into this. I feel a bit like I'm in a constant state of running up the down escalator at the moment, battling to figure out what is right for me in my lifestyle (and I think I'm probably getting it all wrong) and I need all the help I can get. So maybe heart openers are the key - any suggestions?

Meanwhile I'll keep worrying that my heart has turned to stone, and getting this song in my head every time I start to worry about it...

And yes I disapperead into an internet wormhole looking for a clip of this...and can I say I rather enjoyed the mix of appallingly bad and weird amateur productions, versions on ice and spoof videos of the Wizard of Oz (having established that a version from the original was impossible to find!). AND I discovered that the original tin man actor almost died from inhaling aluminimum powder, went to hospital for months of recuperation, and got replaced while he was there! Bastards!!


  1. :)
    I don't have any 'emotional content' to backbends! I consider it a nervous system event. Then again, what is an emotion but a nervous system event also? I think there's a key there. I tend to think of the chakra as having more to do with sensations in the spine rather than the heart. But opening the front of the body just feels... really good! Does this relate to the discussions at Grimmly's and Nobel's? There seems to be a sort of zeitgeist of people feeling disappointed or surprised at not having life-changing experiences, epiphanies and emotional breakdowns in backbends. I've felt this before myself. Like - 'How much deeper to I have to GO?! Hit me with it already!!'. But I think the aim of practice (well, one of them) is to remain centred and somewhat detached from all these 'nervous system events' we put ourselves through. Not been overswept by a tidal wave of emotion may simply mean that we are handling the physiological side of things adequately, and not allowing the emotion to take over our state of mind, rather observing closely ever minute aspect of the experience. On the other hand, if we do have breakdowns then we are learning something and releasing something, also good! Epiphanies, well I'm sure we would all like to have them, but do they have to take place in a backbend? One thing I do get is a kind of 'swooning' feeling and something which is kind of like dizziness but isn't.. of course I like this, but it's just another reaction.

    Actually you are talking about chanting and visualisations more than backbends, sorry... this conversation is now officially spread over three blogs :)

  2. First, good to see you blogging again!

    Second, thanks for the earworm. I have that same line going round and round now!

    Third, I also don't get any great emotions from the practice, in the moment. Beyond frustration, obviously.

    Fourth, I would never have taken the chakras so literally. I don't want to say that this shouldn't bother you, because if it bothers you then it matters, full stop. But on the other hand, I want to say that not feeling this in the situations you describe does not mean that your heart has turned to stone - not even in a metaphorical sense! Are you worried that you're not feeling/expressing emotions in other areas of your life? Feel free to consider that a rhetorical question!

  3. hey susan, it was almost an afterthought to relate this to backbending, but just interesting that this has come up around the same time that I am working on dropbacks. As you know I have been taking them pretty smoothly so far (though not every day!!) defying my own expectations which has been a good thing. I'm certainly not hankering after a backbend meltdown!! I just wondered if finding these elusive heart-openers might allow me to tap into that 20% extra I feel would probably get me to the floor alone. But I'm probably kidding myself and I'm much further away than that!
    Actually it's more in the meditation and in LIFE that I'd like to be able to tap into this feeling of heart opening. I'm pretty sure that my post-kirtan state of bliss at new year was related to it, and (woo-woo talk coming up) I did feel like I let some specific things free when it was happening - and there are plenty more of those still to be let loose. I'll have to go and check the other conversations now too!

  4. Thanks for the welcome back R, sometimes I just have to write a little post to get me back in the mood for more regular updates :)
    And sorry for the earworm!! For me this is one of those cases where I noticed something (or lack of something) then tried to intellectualise it - I can't locate this sensation of the "heart"...ergo I must be the tin man?? The chakra thing meant nothing to me until my weird trippy experience in Thailand where I lost it a little bit for half a day, and now I have a bit more respect for it - but yes, I think the feeling is that in my inability to "unlock" this area of my energetic body that it has a significant effect on my psychological state. It's not like I'm walking around worrying about it all the time, it's just something that I would love to be able to tap into if I could, and thought somebody reading might be able to offer some advice :)