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Goddess Yoga: 5 Heart-Opening Practices

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Of all the Goddesses in the yoga tradition, Lakshmi, the Goddess of love and good fortune, is perhaps the most sought-after throughout the world. She is called upon for harmony in relationships, wealth, beauty, power, fame, royalty, recognition, and regal grace. That is Lakshmi's domain and yet she is so much more. She is the divine inner spark, the radiant power of grace, and the ocean of abundance within every single person. One of the most concise ways to describe Lakshmi is in Sanskrit: bhukti-mukti pradayini, or "she who bestows both worldly success and spiritual liberation."

Let Lakshmi Lead You Toward Self-Love

I grew up in Kentucky. By outer definition, we didn't have much money, and yet my parents emanated the essence of Lakshmi as generosity of heart beyond measure. They taught me to always help others and impressed upon me the innate equality of all people. Even with incredible role models, by the age of 13, I'd entered the inner hellish domain of distorted body image and self-sabotaging ways. I relentlessly compared myself to the cover models on magazines and knew there was no way to match that definition of beauty, but I was determined to try. My teen years were filled with anorexia, bulimia, depression, substance abuse, and pushing myself beyond healthy limits. By the age of 20, I was in the pit of despair, fully entangled in the "beauty myth," utterly confused. Nothing could lift me out of it, until yoga.

Through the practices of yoga, my inner vision began to shift from self-deprecation to self-honoring. I had to work for it and go the distance with myself, but Lakshmi rose up to greet me, blossoming from within. I learned how to stop comparing myself to outer beauty standards and to love myself.

How To Use Lakshmi's Teachings

A key teaching of Lakshmi is to open to love. She reminds you that the core of the Self is a magnetic power of radiance. She beckons you to stop looking at the surface of life to see your beauty. She cries out to you to stop comparing yourself to each other in a negative way or judging your beauty based on magazines and big screens. She insists that you go inside and really see the undeniable magic within.

Invoke Lakshmi when you can't remember your inner abundance or your true beauty. According to Hindu myth, Lakshmi is born out of the churning of the ocean, seated on a blossoming lotus and surrounded with honeybees and the most fragrant flowers. She is the deep-seated beauty of the Self that gets buried by woundedness and must be churned through yoga practices to be reborn again. She is the landing pad of grace within you for every situation in life. She shows you how to turn your face to the golden sun and calls you home to wholeness.

5 Ways To Open Your Heart

1. Examine and question yourself

Look at your life and ask: Where you are comparing yourself to others? Where are you trying to measure up to outer definitions of success and beauty? Notice any part of life where you believe that someone else's success takes away from yours. Are you willing to open your heart and shift your vision to abundance and consciousness, where everyone flourishes and wins?

2. Lotus Visualization

True wealth is generosity of heart. At the beginning of your day, go outside and turn your face to the morning sun. Ask for the sunrise of your heart to illuminate your inner vision and guide your every thought, word, and action. Try this practice: Visualize a lotus opening in the center of your heart with the Goddess Lakshmi seated on it in total radiance.

3. OM with Padma Mudra

Bring your hands to prayer. Keep the heels of your hands together along with the thumbs and little fingers; blossom open the three middle fingers of each hand. Lotus (Padma) Mudra invokes a feeling of expansiveness and love in the heart. Repeat three times.

About Sianna Sherman

Sianna Sherman is creator of the Goddess Yoga Project in partnership with Yoga Journal. She is the founder of Mythic Flow Yoga, a unique style of alignment-focused asana informed by ancient wisdom and myths. She leads teacher trainings and retreats around the world.

Sianna Sherman is on a quest to help each and every woman discover her inner deity. Deepen your physical, mental, and spiritual practice with knowledge of mythic feminine power through this blog series and Sianna's four-session Goddess Yoga online course. Be the first to know when it launches. Sign up now.

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