On New Year's Day I took a kundalini yoga class for the first time. Kundalini is known as the "yoga of awareness" and as a very primal and powerful type of yoga. It incorporates breath work, sound vibration, posture, chanting and meditation. This particular kundalini yoga class was focused on opening the heart chakra. I am probably the least knowledgeable person on all things chakra, however, I do find it interesting and I enjoy exercises and experiences that are centered around these practices. So bear with me as I try to explain a little more about my experience with the heart chakra with you.

The heart chakra is located around your actual heart. It is said to bridge the lower root (earth-grounding) chakras to the higher more spiritual chakras. It is the energy center of your body that is all about compassion and love. And it is driven by the principles of transformation and integration. Think- "All you need is love", or "Love conquers all!"

I don't know about you, but I find that it's easy to become cynical about love as we go through life and experience its inevitable ups and downs. Well, i'm here to tell you- this is why its so important to practice opening this heart center of yours every once in a while.

I don't know why, but I really thought this class was going to be easy. In actuality, it was quite the challenge. Did you know that breathing could be a workout! Seriously, the muscles in my diaphragm are still sore! I thought that I was going to feel too silly to do the chanting but after the 2nd or 3rd repetition I started to get into it. --You might not know this about me, but I have a very very hard time focusing during any meditation or mindfulness practice. My mind wanders and it's difficult for me to bring my attention back to the present.-- The chanting and sound vibration helped me stay with the task and I feel like I got more out of the experience because of it.

My favorite chant was "Sat Nam". That's it. Just Sat. and Nam. repeated over and over again in a sing-song-y chant. It is known as the mantra of awareness. At its very basic meaning, Sat means truth and Nam means Identity. Its so simple and, yet, so complex. "It is a way of acknowledging that at our essence is the Essence. The “Truth”, which is bigger than any human truth, isn’t a matter of right or wrong or even a concept that we can clearly articulate. It is simply an acknowledgement that the Great Mystery is who we are."

Towards the end of class, as we rested in Shavasana (everyone's favorite yoga pose, right?), the sound of the gong helped me to stay focused on this opening, transformative feeling of love. I don't do new year's resolutions. Most of the time they end up feeling like broken promises. I do, however, like to reflect on the past year and spend time feeling hopeful about the year to come. I sometimes create a vision board for myself that includes visual images of goals or things I hope to achieve. This year, I decided to try one of these one-word-resolutions that everyone has been talking about. Or, also known as the "UN-resolution." Check out more information about this concept at oneword365.com. Basically the concept is to think more about BEING rather than DOING. How do you want to live? How can you become the most authentic version of yourself? Don't overthink it; open your mind and your heart and let the word come.

If you haven't guessed it already, my word for the year is LOVE. When I'm stressed, upset, angry, etc, I will respond with LOVE. I will LOVE myself. I will LOVE my children. I will give the gift of myself, which is LOVE. I am excited to experience the transformation that inevitably comes with you open your heart to love. If you decide to try out the one word resolution, please share your word below. SAT NAM