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October 31st, 2013

Lead With The Heart

By Manduka Ambassador, Brian Hyman

I was near the end of a 30-Day Yoga Challenge when I realized that something amazing had happened as a result of taking one yoga class every day for nearly 30 days.

One night after class, I got into my car to drive home. The rearview mirror faced downward. I did not move the mirror before I last exited the car. I sat for a moment and contemplated how the mirror could have shifted. I tried to remember if I bumped or adjusted the mirror or hit any large potholes. I was without an answer. I would have let this go, however a strange feeling surrounded this moment and I felt that I needed to figure this out. A few minutes passed. I then realized what happened. The mirror had not moved. I moved.

I had heard to “lead with the heart” often during the Challenge classes. As I sat in my car that night, I realized that this mantra had now inspired me off the mat – my spine was elongated; my shoulders were rolled back; my posture was sturdy; my chest was open; my gaze was focused; my mind was calm. I was content, relaxed, and grounded. I had learned to lead with the heart.

My physical, mental, and emotional states of being forever changed that night. My yoga practice healed my heart that night.

I looked into the mirror. A light shone from behind my eyes. I sat up tall. I readjusted the mirror upward to meet my gaze.

The following lines by Rumi describe what I felt at that moment:

“This is when the power of love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star.”

After I learned to lead with the heart, I began a daily practice of yoga and meditation. I then became a yoga teacher to bring the healing benefits of yoga to others who did not know about it or could not get to it.

When I now lead with the heart, I realize that each day that we are given is a gift; that each encounter with another human being is an opportunity to share experience, strength, hope, and love.

I must now thank Chelsey Charbeneau who completed the 30-Day Yoga Challenge with me. I will be forever grateful for her friendship and guidance. Thank you Daniel Stewart, Claire Hartley, Jen Black, Michelle Goldstein, and the other teachers at Rising Lotus Yoga. Much gratitude to Saul David Raye, who taught me to go deeper into the heart so that I could teach others how to do the same.

How has your practice affected your life off the mat? How do you lead with the heart?

Lead With the Heart

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