Citta - Opening the Heart-Mind Field of Consciousness

Last week, I began my yoga classes with the first sutra from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Today, I began with a key word from the second sutra, or verse, which is commonly translated as something like:

"Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind."

Or, as one of my favorites renditions by Alistair Shearer:

"Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence."

The word "citta" is often translated as "mind," though in his new book, The Path of the Yoga Sutras: A Practical Guide to the Core of Yoga, Nicolai Bachman, describes "citta" as "heart-mind field of consciousness," which I find absolutely delicious!

So, today in my classes, I continued working with the First Universal Principle of Alignment in Anusara Yoga - which is "Opening to Grace." I chose to work with the aspects of "Inner body bright and side body long," and began my centering by having my dear Monday morning students, envision the sun rising in their hearts. I asked them to imagine themselves becoming more luminous and expansive as the sun rose and shone brightly in their hearts - expanding their side bodies with this light.

I also noted, that when we open our minds and hearts - and our bodies in this way - we widen our perceptual lens - we shift the way we see and understand the world. We may even consider other perspectives that are much different than our own, and see the value in them as well.

Bachman begins the chapter on "chitta" with this wonderful quote from the Lakota:

"The power of the Universe will come to your assistance,
if your heart and mind are in Unity."

Bachman notes that "we are all conditioned by our experience." And, our "heart-mind sits between the ever-changing outside world and an inner light of awareness. This inner light never changes, and it represents a pure, unconditional love. A heart-mind sullied with mental-emotional baggage prevents the inner light from shining through."

When we practice, we let go of what does not serve, and allow that inner light to shine through. By "opening to grace," we become expansive - not only in our bodies - but in our hearts and minds. Our inner luminosity enables us to widen our perceptual lens, perhaps even more than we imagined or thought capable.

In the aftermath of surgery, as I have shared before, I have been able to shed fears, limitations, longings, and attachments, in a way I could not have envisioned. Truly, my perspective has been broadened, and in a very real sense, there is no script for my life as it is right now.

A practice that begins from a premise that not only invites us - but challenges us to "open to grace" is indeed transformational, in ways that are often unforeseen.

Today, open to grace. Connect with your inner luminosity as you open your hearts and your minds. In every task, deed and thought - become as expansive as you can. Let the sun rise in your heart!

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