Opening the doors of the heart – a beautiful talk on kindness from Mary Grace Orr

It’s now been ten years since I attended my first Buddhist meditation retreat. The topic of the six-day retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center was Opening the Doors of the Heart, and we spent the majority of that time in glorious silence, whether sitting on our cushions, walking mindfully through the Fall-crispy-grass on the hills, doing our daily chores, and yes, cracking open our hearts, bit by bit.

Mary Grace Orr gave this beautiful talk a few nights in. (In the event that the link doesn’t work anymore, try this or this.)

I’ve listened to it countless times, and each time different sections catch me. It’s fascinating and humbling to listen again now, another decade’s worth of Metta (lovingkindness) practice under my belt, and still feel as though I have everything yet to learn!

Though the Triratna Buddhist community is my current spiritual home, I continue to feel so much gratitude for all the teachers of the Insight tradition who started me down this path. In particular, I am deeply grateful to James Fox for introducing me to the concept of Metta, and for encouraging me to deepen my practice by attending a retreat.

Saddhu, James, for everything you’ve accomplished with the Prison Yoga Project, and Thank You for inspiring me, then and now!

A yoga sequence to cultivate compassion from Chelsea Jackson Roberts

I found this lovely heart-opening yoga sequence several months ago while putting together a class on the Heart Chakra:

Heart sequence.png

Since then, I’ve incorporated it into just about every class I teach, and it’s become my go-to movement practice… so I figured it was about time I shared the love!

It’s quite accessible in that it is easy to practice anywhere, without a mat or specialized clothing. It’s also easily adjustable to fit any timeframe. I usually start with a version in which I hold each pose for two full breaths. Even if that’s all I have time for, my mindbodyheart feel so much better for it; even better if I have time to go through several rounds, timed with the breath.

I’m convinced that this sequence was exactly the loving kindness that I needed during a recent retreat that was very challenging, both physically and emotionally.

Thank you, Chelsea Jackson Roberts, for sharing your inclusive practices and experiences with us. They are truly gifts that keep on giving!