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Essences of Nature: Warrior with a Wide-Open Heart

Essences of Nature: Warrior with a Wide-Open Heart Mary Ann Altamarino Antenucci

There is a freedom that comes from being fully expressed. It makes us appreciate and anticipate whether our bodies are communicating that they want to hide and roll into a ball or leap into action to make great strides.

Coming from a martial arts background (Hawaiian hard-style kenpo), I understand that we do everything we can to protect our hearts. We block, we defend, we misdirect, and we counterattack. There is no way we would willingly expose our tender underbellies and our hearts. Fast-forward ten years and here I am in a yoga class, vinyasa to be exact. I'm exposing many different body parts willingly and openly.

At first, it feels weirdly vulnerable, as if the heart can't open wide enough. It almost aches. It brings up an immediate aggravation of: "How long will we stay in this pose, and how much more space can I create?" I lower to my warrior stance to counteract the opening. As I extend my arms back and raise my chin, I feel the pressure against my throat. I find this strangely comforting, as if it is compressing old patterns and clearing obstacles. This is the point at which emotions that may have been long forgotten show up.