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.