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The Fearless Heart
On June 15, 2012 in
By the time I was 30 I was divorced, I had cancer and I had survived rape. Jeez! I had a certain Eeyore attitude about the world and what was possible. What’s more, in my late thirties I had my two beautiful children, and then reality came crashing down. I left my career, at which I was really good, to be a mom, at which I kind of sucked.
Now I know that all mothers experience this fear. We are on uncertain territory and we gingerly feel our way forward on a path lined with guilt and trepidation. I don’t have all the answers, not even some, but I do know this much for sure: just asking if we are doing this right probably makes us better.
Love is just like yoga: You have to have a fearless heart.
And you have to be willing to fail over and over again before you get it right.
Above all else, my discovery of yoga when I was 40 has made me a better mother and a braver person. My trials on the mat, and the courage I felt in discovering new poses, led me to believe that life was indeed, beautiful. And after so many years of feeling like Eeyore, sad and gloomy, I started to feel strong. I found my inner badass!
I started to write again, after taking a professional break for more than 20 years. I finished my memoir, “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga.” I am now a columnist, an author, a yoga teacher and a mother. Dreams really do come true. I owe my new found strength to my practice.
I hope you enjoy the class I recorded based on the first chapter of my book. It is about love and life, and how you may have to fail over and over again until you get it right. I hope it gives you strength and courage, so you know as I do that yoga is the path to a fearless heart.
By Michelle Berman Marchildon
Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s a writer, an award-winning journalist, a former corporate executive and a survivor of 50+ years of life. She’s the author of the memoir “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga,” and a Columnist for Elephant Journal and Origin Magazine. She is an E-500 RYT with Yoga Alliance and teaches Aligned Vinyasa in Denver, Co. You can find her blog and website at
Start practicing with Michelle's class:
The Fearless Heart
– Michelle Berman Marchildon
6 Heart-Opening Backbends to Attract More Love
It might sound cliche, but it's good to have an open heart. What does this mean though and why is it good? From the perspective of the chakra system, the heart is the place where we love from. Simply put, when your heart center is open, you are more open to experiencing, giving, receiving, and enjoying love with others (as well as being more loving towards yourself). When your heart is closed, you're more closed off from experiencing love. Can doing yoga poses help us experience more love? Yes! Our bodies and minds are connected, and putting your body into a more open and loving shape, can make your mind more loving and open. Think about how someone who is defeated, sad, and heartbroken carries themselves. It's usually a more hunched forward position and closed in the chest. Now think of someone who is bright and confident. Their posture is usually tall, proud, and open, specifically around the ara of their chest. This is an example of the connection between our emotions and our bodies.
Yoga For Your Heart
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. ~ John Lennon Imagine filling your heart so full of love for yourself and others that no space for fear exists! One of the most powerful aspects of yoga is the ability to create openings in your physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies. The heart chakra is the seat of compassion, love, joy, and happiness. This week, our focus is all about opening and nourishing your heart. February 14th is known around the world as the day of love and it’s not just limited to romance. Documented celebrations as long ago as Roman times emphasize that the power of the heart justifies rejoicing. Our heart is the connection point where we are magnetically drawn to others. Love stems from our powerful fourth Chakra, the heart chakra.
The Head & The Heart: Your Inner Romeo & Juliet
Have you ever felt like you are living a Shakespearean play within, conflict and drama a plenty? Romeo and Juliet taking duel inside, the battle of head and the heart? Where courage challenges consideration to a duel and thought stabs thrill in the back? At heart, I am all Romeo, full of passion, love and extremes. Loyal to a detriment, I’m often tempted to act foolishly in defense of those I do love dear. This is an example of the heart winning over the head. Oh, the angst and drama that overtakes my life, where it would be all too easy for my heart to throw away any logical order that exists in my life, and insteads leads me on spontaneous adventures and lust inspired indulgences. Life would be fun and fabulous. My heart sometimes guides me to just ignore the dose of danger waiting in the wings. Many times however, I do give thanks to the dear Juliet who lives in my head, which keeps me level and sane. As independent and loyal as Romeo, she is thankfully more capable and self assured.
10 Steps to Heal Heartbreak
If falling in love is the best thing in the world, heartbreak has to be the worst. Heartbreaks are tough and understandably so; what you just believed to be true is no longer the case. While it may seem like your life is over, please know its not and you will get through this. Having gone through a recent heartbreak myself, I feel you. After I realized another romantic relationship had come to an end, I experienced many peaks and valleys of emotions. Luckily, my yoga practice has taught me many things like patience, non-attachment and compassion so I was able process the breakup in a healthy way. If you’re going through a heartbreak right now, please know you are loved by many. Then read on and test out my 10 steps to break away and return to you. STEP 1: Breathe. Take a deep breath. Inhale through the nose. Exhale out the mouth. Repeat as many times as you need to calm your nerves. Your breath is your strength, your energy, your life force. Even in times you find yourself in complete disbelief, just breathe. When you heart is broken and you can’t imagine another day without him, just breathe.
Open Your Heart
Do you remember the scene in the classic holiday cartoon, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when the Grinch finally understands the gift of selfless love and his heart expands and fills with joy? When we spend time in our yoga practice working on backbends, we are essentially creating space for more love and compassion and releasing the fear that can be restricting us from living our most authentic life. In order to invite more love and compassion into your life, it’s important to release old resentments and hurts which may be blocking you from expressing your emotions. Our hearts contain the two primary human emotions of love and fear. Part of the human experience includes love and pain. When you’ve been hurt, it is natural to protect yourself as you heal. But often, the initial healing process morphs into fear and emotional blocks. Yes, we don’t want to have our hearts ripped out of our chests, but to truly be strong, we’ve got to be vulnerable.
Energetic Heart for Yoga Teachers – Our Collective Power
Every teacher can feel the shift that happens in the midst of teaching when the collective energy in the class begins to synch. It is a palpable sense of connectedness - a heightened quality of flow as movement, breath, and embodied awareness come into flow. As you may know and feel, our heart has a tremendous role in such shifts of consciousness that we feel at the heart of yoga.
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