“I am the Self, dwelling in the heart of all beings, and the beginning,
the middle, and the end of all that lives as well.” 10:20
~ Krishna from The Bhagavad Gita
Yogis depict the heart as the seat of human feeling, the seat of the highest Self. In many Eastern cultures people greet one another by bowing their heads and bringing their palms together at their heart center.
We in the West may view this gesture as a sign of prayer or deep reverence.This sacred hand expression, in Sanskrit called the Anjali mudra, (AHN-jah-lee) meaning “offering” and mudra (MOO-dra) meaning “seal.”
It is often accompanied by the word “namaste,” which is a common greeting in India. This familiar gesture is one that we use to begin and end a yoga class, often returning to it throughout the practice to pause and reflect. It also elicits the belief that it is the heart, not the mind or ego, in which we see ourselves most truly.
You may notice a feeling of connection and intimacy when you bring your hands to your heart. In anatomy study we learn the close relationship of the hands to the heart through a plexus of nerves and arteries.
In the subtle yogic energetic system know as the Chakras, the word for the heart center is “Anahata” or un-struck. This speaks to the resiliency of the heart and its potential for unbounded kindness, love and compassion.Through meditation we come to know a silent dimension of the mind that exists, which the yogis call the buddhi, our innate awareness. When we practice the Anjali mudra, we are yoking the energy of the mind to heart and hands.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Patanjali gives us the Eight Limbs of yoga to help us work with obstacles that arise and block us from our heart wisdom and to guide us in how best to use this potential.
This is not limited to a special holiday, although it gives us an opportunity to share our deepest heartfelt desires.
Each day we can ask: “What small, kind gesture can I offer through my mind, heart and hands?” That is the beautiful question.
“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary.
What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” ~Mother Teresa