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We all go in cycles of being more and less self-aware. Sometimes we can really tune in to what our bodies, hearts, and minds are trying to tell us . . . but other times, not so much! When we can really tune in and listen, we can start speaking from the heart more.

To me, speaking from the heart is like channeling empathy with everything that I say (maybe not everything I think at first, but working through it before I open my mouth). This can get a little tiring; like everything else, it takes practice. A part of this practice is to be gentle with yourself when you find yourself not speaking or thinking from the heart, which can happen often! 

Several months ago, I noticed myself cycling into “self-unawareness.” I was getting angrier, more jealous, and more irritable – all things that I value NOT being. It did not feel good, and that’s when speaking from the heart really occurred to me. Why wasn’t I listening to my heart and channeling my compassion and empathy? So, I asked myself these two questions:

1. How do I speak to myself?

2. How do I hope others will speak to me?

Yes, sometimes we are not the nicest people to ourselves. If you have trouble with negative self-talk, ask yourself, “Would I talk to my mom or best friend or my partner this way?” If you are saying something mean, the answer is probably NO! 

When people start acting weird (or just unlike their usual selves), or doing something that doesn’t seem quite right, I will try to ask myself, “When do I do weird things that probably rub people the wrong way?” And I always come up with the same answer: either I am having a rough day, or maybe I am under some kind of pressure/stress that is making me act funky! We ALL experience distress, and we are all affected in different ways by it. But when you are experiencing something stressful, or someone else around you is, can you dig a little deeper? Can you feel your breath and your heartbeat? Can you treat yourself and that person with empathy and love? 

These ideas are quite connected: the more you speak from the heart, the less anxiety you will have! If you say things out of love, you will have fewer occasions to ask yourself “What was I thinking when I said that!?” or “Why did I say that?!” You’ll know why you expressed yourself the way you did, and you’ll be certain that whatever you said was meant to be a direct communication from your heart to the listener’s heart. 

Speaking from the heart isn’t always about responding to negativity with love! It just went there for me today. It is also just about letting your true self be heard. When was the last time you told your friend or partner a reason why you are grateful for them, or how good they are at something? Your heart feels that all of the time, but how often do we verbalize it? The last time you looked at someone with admiration and respect and love, did you tell them? I have just started practicing letting my heart open up to friends and family a little more, and it feels great!



Anahata Chakra (or Heart Chakra): “In Anahata one makes decisions (“follows one’s heart”) based on one’s higher self, not the unfulfilled emotions and desires of lower nature. As such, it is known as the heart chakra. It is also associated with love and compassion and charity to others” (


Having trouble putting your feelings into words? Try filling in these blanks next time you’re wanting to express your heart:

You are so amazing at ___________. It is so cool that you know how to do that!

I am really grateful for your ability to _____________. I don’t know what I would do without it!

Do you realize how good you make me feel when you say/do __________________? 

Thank you for being so _____________________. You are the BOMB.COM. 


Jessica began practicing yoga around 11 years ago, but it wasn't until after running cross country and track at the college level that she realized she needed something more nourishing for her body--something she could rely on for not only her physical health, but for her mental health as well. Jessica views yoga as a chance to practice relaxation, mindfulness, and compassion, which then spills over into her daily life. She can be found at Patanjali's Place practicing to her heart's delight, hanging out in downtown Durham with friends, or spending time with her husband at home. After graduating from Beloit College in 2009 and working in Women's Health for 5 years, Jessica is now a full time yoga instructor and writer. Jessica’s classes combine challenging poses, creative sequencing, and most importantly a sense of levity—she is always reminding herself and her students to never take yoga too seriously. She encourages adventurousness, hard work, and fun in all of her classes! You can stay in touch with Jessica by following her on Facebook (, Twitter and Instagram (@lavitayoga). read more about