I write this after having returned from a sudden trip to the United States where we spent last precious time with and witnessed the passing of our Aunt Ellen. Just the previous week I had delivered classes with the theme of strength of heart.

Our practice of yoga invites us to literally keep the heart strong, spacious and open and to ‘say yes to life’ … all of it … the ways it feels as though it breaks us with sorrow, and the ways it offers such immense joy. The heart is incredible … it starts beating before the brain is formed and what triggers its beating is unknown. The Heart is about 60 times stronger electrically and 5,000 times stronger magnetically than the brain. The yogis see our heart as the energetic centre and where our essence resides. In classes we focussed on shoulder loop, that energetic loop we cultivate in practice that keeps us connected to the back body, the ‘Great Heart’, and invites us to be present and welcoming all life brings.

Parker Palmer says, “Heartbreak is an inevitable and painful part of life. But there are at least two ways for the heart to break: it can break open into new life, or break apart into shards of sharper and more widespread pain.…. A supple heart will break open into a greater capacity to hold life’s suffering and its joy. Our hearts can become more open, compassionate, and welcoming — not in spite of their pain but because of it.

So here’s a question I like to ask myself: What can I do day-by-day to make my heart more supple? How can I become more open and responsive to a suffering world. I’m convinced that heartbreak is a powerful political as well as a personal experience”