What wins out? Head or heart?



“The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.”

~Mark Nepo


I had an interesting conversation with a friend about yoga and using the head vs. the heart in life. Should we live from the head, heart, or both? How can we use yoga to connect us to our innermost wisdom?


Which should we use in life? The head or heart? I learned from studying Vedanta, subtle intellect is what needs to be developed in this world to live wisely. However, for me, the heart is just as important. How can the practice of yoga provide an answer for us? Using meditation a few minutes a day can awaken and teach us to quiet the mind and tap into our inner “GPS” or inner guru. That innermost wisdom is a place (to me) where our subtle intellect resides.


However, the heart has its own “knowing” or wisdom connected to our deepest self. When the heart is open, it can lead us to places we wouldn’t normally go in the past. The heart often closes down due to old stories we tell ourselves, past judgements, misperceptions, and/or shutting ourselves down or pushing things away.


In contrast, the open heart guides us intuitively to go with love, joy, and ease. When we are able to use our breath to direct our minds and thereby opening our hearts, we have the ability to come into direct experience of what’s happening now in the present moment. The mind has a tendency to veil itself in illusions (avidya). To think, we actually believe ALL the stories we tell ourselves. In the Buddhist tradition, it is called “quieting the monkey mind.” Once we are able to do this, we can tap into both our subtle intellect and heart wisdom to fully know ourselves because we can actually see clearly (vidya).


Using both the heart and mind, we can create lives that feel good to us and begin to make decisions and create lives that resonate from our truest and deepest selves.

Have you ever experienced a situation when you felt stuck between the mind and heart? What was the outcome? I’d love to hear of your experience and maybe how meditation or postures has helped you find ease.