The Heart: The Seat of Wisdom

Hatha Yoga is one of the most common styles of the Western World, and a lot of other styles branch off from it such as: Astanga (Mysore), Iyengar, Bikram, Satyananda, Anasura and Vinyasa Yoga. Hatha means Sun (Ha) and Moon (tha) and the purpose of Hatha Yoga is to find balance and union of energies (prana). Just as yoga means to unite, we are reminded of that universal connection with everything around us.

The ancient yogis taught that each of us replicates the world at large, embodying “rivers, seas, mountains, fields…stars and planets…the sun and moon” (Shiva Samhita, II.1-3). The outer sun, they asserted, is in reality a token of our own “inner sun,” which corresponds to our subtle, or spiritual, heart. Here is the seat of consciousness and higher wisdom (jnana) and, in some traditions, the domicile of the embodied self (jivatman).

It might seem strange to us that the yogis place the seat of wisdom in the heart, which we typically associate with our emotions, and not the brain. But in yoga, the brain is actually symbolized by the moon, which reflects the sun’s light but generates none of its own. ~ Yoga Journal

Other religions also appear to place the seat of wisdom in the heart and not just the mind. The Blessed Virgin Mary is also known as Sedes Sapientiae, meaning Seat of Wisdom. Mary is considered wise because she continually reflected on her experiences— “pondering in her heart” both the joys and sorrows she experienced during her lifetime (Luke 2:19, 51).

The outer sun is a symbol of our inner sun or spiritual heart; it reminds us of our truth, our innate wisdom. The practice of sun salutations enlightens that truth within our hearts, and encourages us to connect and harmonise with all things. We bow or salute to the sun as a form of reverence and devotion to our own inner light and to others. At the end of our practice we bow and again and offer our hearts in Namaste to celebrate this union.

Namaste: I honour the place in you where the whole universe dwells. I honour the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.


· “Love is the song of the soul singing to God. It is the balanced rhythmic dance of planets – sun and moon lit.” ~ Paramahansa Yoganand.

· "The seat of knowledge is in the head; of wisdom, in the heart. We are sure to judge wrong, if we do not feel right.” ~ William Hazlitt

· "A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” ~ Charles Dickens.

· “Wisdom is the sunlight of the soul.” - German Proverb

· “Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.” ~ Herman Hesse

This was used as the Spirit Yoga Theme for the week, I hope it can help enlighten the truth within your heart and encourage you to connect and harmonise with all things. 

Article by Martine Ford