A Yoga Practice to Inspire Both Giving and Receiving
by Susi Amendola
Photo Credit: Jack, via Flickr Creative Commons
How do you enhance giving and receiving love in yourself and others?
The holiday season is a perfect time to exercise our muscles of giving and receiving love. Many of us go through the motions of buying presents and stressing over what to get for those we care about. At times, it can even feel like forced giving. Yet if we focus on working deeply with our feelings of giving and receiving love, we’ll discover a wonderful gift. Our hearts will open, the flow of blood and energy will increase, and our health and happiness will improve.
When we allow a gift to touch our heart and connect us to another person, it opens us up
Some of us are like professional givers. We give to our friends, we give to our families, and we give to those in need. Some of us are amazing receivers. We know how to let others care for us and let them feel special for their gifts of love and energy they bestow upon us. Both of these are important skills. Often we may be good at one and not so good at the other. You may even want to reflect on your own patterns and see where you feel the most flow.
How to Receive A Compliment
Have you ever given a compliment to someone and they deflect it by saying something that downplays your words? Their response could even make you feel sorry you said anything. It robs others of their ability to give if we aren’t good receivers. Instead, consider if you could fully embrace a compliment or a gift and let the other person feel validated. It opens the energy of our hearts to receive love from someone else.
It took me a long time to learn this lesson. I used to find myself deflecting compliments and then I realized by the look on the other person’s face that it was an ungracious reaction. In contrast, what if when someone complimented you, you said, “I am taking that in and cherishing it and bathing in your lovely words. Thank you.” What a beautiful way to receive. It’s almost like getting a gift in return. It’s like a blessing.
When we allow a gift to touch our heart and connect us to another person in a deep and meaningful way, it opens us and provides nourishment.
Yoga to Open Our Hearts
Yoga practice offers many techniques that help us refine this energy through the physical manifestation of movement. The arms carry the energy of the heart into the world through giving and receiving love. For example, when we bring our hands to our heart and then reach them out and up, we are strengthening this physical movement of giving and receiving love. The movement helps the energy flow, and where energy flows blood goes.
Here is a simple practice you can use to reinforce that movement:
- Sit quietly and place the palms together in the center of your chest.
- Reach the arms out in front of you with the palms facing up.
- Roll the hands over so the backs of the hands are together.
- Now bring the finger back to the heart and open the palms out in front of you as if to offer something out from your heart to someone you love. (Do these three times. )
- Now change direction and start with the palms open in front of you. Draw the open palms towards your heart as if receiving something from someone you love as you roll to the backs of the hands while reaching them back out in front of you, then roll the palms up. (Do these three times.)
- Sit quietly and notice how this feels.
If you are someone who finds giving easier than receiving, you can work with the receiving part of this exercise more often. If you find receiving easier, than work with the other version.