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Gentle Yoga: Heart Openers; Hospitality

I arrived home from southern India last Wednesday evening after two weeks of visiting my son-in-law’s family and friends there. I was blown away by their hospitality.

Everywhere I went people received me warmly, fed me delicious food morning, noon, and night, and gave me their best for shelter. One auntie even bought my daughter and me a beautiful Indian outfit to wear. I hope to extend a similar quality of hospitality when folks come to my house.

I would also like to bring a spirit of hospitality to what comes up in my own inner world. Thirteenth-century poet, Rumi, wrote a famous poem, The Guest House, which expresses this perfectly:

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

This week let’s practice heart openers to bring a spirit of hospitality to our guests and to all aspects of ourselves.

Atithi Devo Bhava means 'Guest is God’. We Indians are known for our hospitality across the globe. It is part of the "code of conduct" for Indian culture. For us, Guest is equivalent to God. -- Anonymous

“People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own creativeness and fragility.” – Shauna Niequist

“The ornaments of your home are the people who smile upon entering time and time again.” – Maralee McKee

Hope you can make it to Willow Street Yoga from 11 am until 12:30 pm on this and every Wednesday. You can sign up in advance at or at the door.



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