There are rarely more than two or three of us at my early morning Pur Yoga class. Not surprising given it begins at 6:30. Still, despite the ungodly hour and poor attendance, our teacher Toni never fails to bring us her best. Of all the classes she’s taught, there’s one that will always stand out from the rest. The focus of that day’s yoga class: moving with a light heart and an open spirit.

It took place on a summer’s day in 2018, when global headlines were particularly grim and Toni was feeling the need to reconnect with her joy. She invited us to do the same, and so we set our intention with the help of the following mantra:

“I move through my day with a light heart and open spirit,  knowing all is well.”

I’ll admit, I wasn’t able to embrace the last four words because I didn’t actually believe that all was well. In my life, yes, but not in the world at large. Still, I knew where she was going with this and decided that I would move through my day with a light heart and open spirit. Period.

A light heart - quote

Between warrior ones, downward dogs, eagle twists and more, Toni reiterated these words and I took them on board. For much of the class, I kept my eyes closed so that I could focus on manifesting a light heart and open spirit without distraction. And I felt it happen.

I felt my heart get lighter with every move. I felt my spirit open. When I extended my arms in warrior two, they felt like wings. And that was plenty enough reason to have set my alarm for 5:50 am. But that is not all I took away from that morning’s class.

A light heart - image

No yoga practice is complete without Savasana.

As our practice drew to a close, we took our light hearts and open spirits to the floor. We relaxed, with our heels slightly apart. Arms placed gently by our sides. Palms upward-facing. Eyes closed. And music playing, as it always does in Toni’s classes; she’s the playlist master.

And then she asked us to begin moving our wrists and ankles.

“Oh, but I don’t want to get up,” I thought. I never want to get up from Savasana.

And then James Taylor began to sing, soft and steady, accompanying me as I rolled begrudgingly to one side as per instruction and then … What was this Toni wanted us to do? Turn to face the wall — not the front of our mats — and come to standing? But why?

A light heart image 2

And then I danced, with a light heart and an open spirit.

“Shower the people you love with love,” sang James.

“Just let your body go where it needs to go,” said Toni.

“Show them the way that you feel,” sang James.

And I did. I felt joy and I let it show. Smiling like a Cheshire cat, I swayed my middle-aged hips and waved my weightless arms. I felt light, open, abundant, and incredibly glad to be alive. It was a good morning. Good morning yoga.

You may not have attended the class, but you can still enjoy the experience.

Sing along with James and then take these words into your day. I promise they will bring you joy.

Just shower the people you love with love
Show them the way that you feel
Things are going to work out fine if you only will
Shower the people you love with love
Show them the way you feel
Things are going to be much better if you only will

Or, stand up, scroll down, hit play, and just let yourself go wherever James takes you.


Viv for today xo

(Originally published in June 2018)

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