My shoulders started to slump and my mind started to wander. The run was set for six easy miles, but enthusiasm was lacking in that moment. Then came the words which changed the rest of the workout: Lead from your heart center.
And so, my shoulders went back, my chest was out and my overall form immediately improved. More oxygen was available to my body and my mind started to focus on what was around me, catching glimpses of gardens and houses I had never noticed before. While the run was still work, the effort seemed pleasant and invigorating, as if the movement was opening up my body and mind to the rest of the day.
At various points throughout the run, when I felt my energy sag and my shoulders round, I came back to the notion of leading from my heart center.
I am sure there is something deeply meaningful in the yoga tradition about leading with your heart center. In my experience, the phrase has been used to describe a movement of your body — a way to keep proper body alignment as it moves into downward-facing poses. Seems simple at first, but consider your own body alignment for a moment. The way you hold your body can shift your entire perspective. There is power in sitting up straight, relaxing your muscles and taking a deep breath. There is a shift when running and leading with your heart center, focusing on proper body alignment and technique, which not only makes the act of running a bit easier, but relaxes the mind into the moment.
Leading from the heart center begins with how I hold my body but it expands into how I approach my life. Am I being open to the moment? Am I being true to myself? Leading from the heart center puts me in a place of confidence where anything is possible.
How will you lead from your heart center today? And where might it lead you?