I have a friend who is growing her compassion. Actively learning this skill that we assume we can muster when needed. She attends seminars. She studies books. She travels to be at conferences. She is building her compassion muscles with workouts in her life and in each conversation. And I love hearing about what she is learning.
After one trip, she told me that her teachers encouraged her to see everyone around her as already a hero in someone’s life. Instead of seeing “that guy who just cut me off” or “that woman who gave me a funny look” or “those people who have it all together and don’t even know how I’m feeling”… now he is a hero in someone’s story. She is a hero for someone else. They are heroes in some way simply unknown to me.
And the same is true in us. How can I turn my “not good enoughs” and “unlikeables” and “failed attempts” into seeing the hero in me? The bravery it takes to get up each morning and put on my truest face of myself to share with the world. The strength it takes to listen and care and walk alongside other humans. The courage it takes to reveal something vulnerable in me – something not yet (or not ever) perfect.
I’m not sure I’ve taught a yoga class that doesn’t include the cue “lift your heart” at some point. Oh, if only we could always proudly share our hearts in life! This yoga pose invites us to stretch our whole front body. With all our vital organs are ‘out in the open’, it takes courage to be so vulnerable – in yoga and in life! I invite you to spend a few minutes in this reclined (and supported) yoga pose, Virasana, named after a hero with a brave and passionate heart, like you. Who is a hero in your story? Who are you a hero for?
– soft floor
– thick blanket or long thin pillow
– extra pillows around to figure out your set up!
On the floor, sit with your knees bent and your heels on each side of your seat. Your feet and ankles will be stretched flat down on the floor. Sit upright and check in with your body here. You may want to put a blanket or pillow under your seat for comfort. Breathe.
If you feel open to a little more of a stretch on the front body, remove anything under your seat and place your hands behind you. Set a rolled blanket or long pillow behind you that will eventually support you along your spine. Slowly lower to your forearms. If you are able, lower your back onto the pillow (getting a few can work, too!). Let the top of your head reach for the floor or support your neck and head with an additional pillow. Breathe big and deep and rest in the truth that you are courageous and strong.
(Sitting with knee pain is not heroic, so click to check out some great variations for your body!)