We’ve heard the expression ‘heart and soul’ about a million times in our lives. For example, ‘I’ve put my ‘heart and soul’ into this (whether it be a creative project or a meal we’ve cooked) or ‘I love you with all of my ‘heart and soul.” We all know what the heart is, what it does and what it feels like to love or experience extreme heartbreak or loss, but do we know what the ‘soul’ is? Have we ever truly felt our soul, our spirit? What makes us uniquely who we are (without the labels of artist, mother, singer, teacher, etc.), but also one and the same with each other. I remember being asked the question if I’ve ever ‘felt my soul’ by one of my teachers early on in my yoga career and right away I thought to myself: ‘Yes, I have.’
I came back to a memory of feeling completely liberated and free of fear; I remembered a time when I was singing, not necessarily remembering the time or place, but I remembered the feeling of being truly alive. Not labeling myself as a musician, I like to say that the best expression of myself is through song. It is when I connect to my creative power that I can feel my spirit exploding out of my heart.
In yoga philosophy, the seat of the soul, the true self, (also know as ‘Atman’ in Sanskrit) lies on the right side of the heart which is situated in the center of the chest. Everything that we practice in yoga always comes back to this place in the body. Sometimes it feels easy to access in our asana practice like the sweetness we feel when lifting out of a backbend, but sometimes we just have a bad day and we feel a little lost. This is when we have to work a little bit harder and a little bit smarter. We have to get creative.
Creativity is part of the upward flow of prana from the sacral area up to the crown of the head. If we start to tap into our own creative power, the soul will start to rise up to the surface and we’ll start to discover who we truly are. Our work at finding stillness, meditation, and self-reflection last month was all leading up to a moment where we felt a spark to create something; a moment where we feel inspired to finish a project at home or work, to sing a song, to dance in our living rooms, to bake a birthday cake for our child.
Take a little time every day to do something creative whether it be journaling, doodling, exploring Pinterest, or listening to a song. Eventually your brain will have an easier time making mindful decisions, the physical body will start to feel more balanced, and the subtle energetic body will start to align the heart with the spirit. I know whenever I don’t make time for music, I feel more stressed, less happy, and ultimately I feel like there’s a piece of me that’s missing. Sometimes we can’t put our finger on what is missing from our lives, but if we can get into the habit of being a little more creative, the universe will guide us to where it is we need to go.
When we let the creative juices or energy flow, we can experience magic; the connection to our higher power and the universe (the divine) and the connection to true universal love. Not a romantic love, but a love that has no end and no beginning. A love where we have compassion for all that we are, as well as for everyone and everything that surrounds us. That is the true self. That is the heart and soul.