The Power of Working with our Heart

Working with our heart

Recently I created and delivered a workshop on yoga for dementia and mild cognitive impairments. While validating what I experimentally knew worked in this demographic with science, I came across renowned psychologist Tom Kitwood and his work on dementia: Dementia Reconsidered. In his book he is raising expectations on what can be achieved when working with empathy and building connections with those we care for, when working with our heart.

His observations on people with dementia are highly transferable to teaching people yoga, especially populations who are considered less able and “special”. He invites us through his book to look at the person not the disease and to understand that all humans are equal and must be valued equally. Every effort must therefore be made to meet the basic needs of each person, of love care and respect. As yoga teachers, therefore, we must work with great humility, and with our hearts. We are no different to others and it is our obligation to treat each person with deep respect, regardless of pathology or impairment.

When we work from our hearts, in yoga or other settings, we acknowledge positives within everyone we meet We are all equally capable and strong, as damaged and deficient

When we open our hearts and truly connect with tenderness and empathy, we can truly understand that emotions play a critical role to who we are.

When we give from our hearts generously we become open to receiving and acceptance of ourselves and others without judgement or prejudice

When we see through the heart, we can recognise the value in each person beyond society standards. Seeing from the heart can also mean to recognise the value of emotions rather that intellect and connection rather that autonomy.

“When we listen with our heart, listening is done with more than our ears and are open to the possibility of capturing the truth, while practising empathy and true understanding.”

[From: The Most effective way to show compassion to another is to listen, rather than talk.Thich Nhat Hanh]

Beyond the poses and the physical aspects of yoga, working with our heart can take us and our students into a way of being where emotions and feelings are given a much bigger place , more in tune with our body and its functions as well as opening the path to greater engagement and connection with each other.

Who is Maria?

Julia first heard about Maria through a Continued Education Yoga Alliance Workshop. She could immediately felt her warm heart and genuine passion about making yoga accessible to everyone. Taking some of her online training, Julia decided to invite Maria to write a guest blog post for you. You can learn more about Maria and her offerings here.

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Georgiana November 1st, 2022

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I met Julia at a retreat and she is an amazing teacher and a really lovely human. I loved how she didn't rush through the process and we really went back to basics, while at the same time learning a wide variety of things about yoga, from how to do a certain asana to yogic wisdom. It was obvious that Julia knows a lot and she is also really good at sharing it with others. She redefined in my mind what a good yoga teacher is.

Eve January 22nd, 2020

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Julia is one of the most precious yoga teacher I’ve ever had! I would recommend all her practices with a special mention for her yoga nidra. I got so relaxed and so deeply calmed down by her voice during each session, she helped me letting it go towards either a tight sleep or for restful nap. Very powerful experience and human being. thank you Warrior Princess!

Agnieszka January 21st, 2020

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I have had the most relaxing beautiful experience in the yoga Nidra class. Thank you so much 🙏. You are so knowledgeable and your voice so soothing

Sarah February 14th, 2020

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Julia ably and effortlessly led a vinyasa class with clear instruction and really helpful assists. She spoke about philosophy just the right amount, there was still plenty of space and quiet to really get into the practice. Thank you Julia!! I loved it

Majbritt May 3rd, 2020

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The best yoga in Copenhagen. They are very skilled at Hatha yoga, Yin, and yoga nidra. Julia has a good personality, an she is one of my favorite instructor.

Kim April 1st, 2020

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Julia is an amazing teacher. I have had three classes with her so far and she already improved my asanas a lot. I appreciate her hands on experience and eye for detail. Thank you Julia. Big hug! (by the way: her guided meditations are the best!)