Open Heart Yoga
”Open Heart Yoga of Guru Rinpoche is a master practice of tantric vipashyana and nonmeditation (dzogchen atiyoga). What makes the practice special and especially effective is how the powerful blessings of the buddhas is infused into the mind with the outcome of immense purification within a very short time of practice. Applying the different techniques of Open Heart Yoga also reveals the natural state, the empty awareness of all buddhas, which is the pinnacle of all buddhist paths. Open Heart Yoga is meant for common laypeople
with jobs and families.”
- Kim Katami, founder and head teacher
*Open Heart Yoga was previously known as Tibetan Heart Yoga
Practicing Open Heart Yoga should be pleasant and joyful. The practice brings greatest effects with openness of heart and light smile on one's face. Even though in Open Heart we speak of levels of attainment (bhumi) and use many technical terms, all practice really boils down to ourselves becoming more open hearted and open minded as people through applying practices such as Open Heart Yoga and other supporting practices like Guru Yoga.
Open Heart Yoga is a combination of tantric yoga and nonmeditation (dzogchen atiyoga). Regular practice of Open Heart Yoga transforms the confused dualistic mind to it's natural nondualistic state. It also develops vitality and inner serenity.
Open Heart Yoga (OHY) is a collection of practices thanks to our gurus, Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal. In a simple program that takes about 35-45 minutes to practice, several highly effective techniques are brought together. The primary purpose of the practice is to illuminate our own mind, reduce and finally end our existential confusion (skt. dukkha) and through doing that help all sentient beings.
Three Levels of Techniques
Techniques are easy to learn and practice. The actual practice is done sitting on a chair or on a meditation cushion in a comfortabke position.
Open Heart Yoga has three levels of techniques. Each level can be learned as soon as the previous level has been learned well. This means that with each level one learns additional techniques that are added to one's daily practice program. Each level can be learned online or live.
Three Levels of Empowerment
Open Heart Yoga also has three levels of empowerment. Empowerments given by the teacher representing a lineage are a norm in all tantric teachings.
The first empowerment is received on Open Heart Yoga level 1 course. Everyone can receice it, there are no prerequisites.
The second empowerment is received when the practitioner has progressed to open his or her 6th bhumi.
The third empowerment is received when the practitioner has progressed to open the 11th bhumi (1st mahasiddha bhumi).
To get a better understanding of bhumis, please refer to materials here.
Online support groups are available for practitioners according to one's level of practice.
Also read this information about the Deities and Empowerments of Open Heart Yoga.
Who can learn?
Yogic practices are for people who have reasonably normal health and can live normal or close to normal lives.
If you have been diagnosed with a physical or mental illness that requires medication or medical treatment, discuss your situation with teacher before joining teachings.
Learn from a qualified teacher
Open Heart Yoga is taught by authorized teachers. Authorization as a teacher is received from the head teacher after one has followed the teachings, made progress in them and as fit to becoming a teacher for others.
You are free to discuss your practice with others but we ask you not to teach or tell details of the techniques to others. We ask this because techniques need to be learned properly from a valid teacher together with receiving an empowerment. Doing practices without an empowerment can be harmful.
All conversations between you and the teacher/s are confidential.
Open Heart Yoga is based on certain syllables that are called mantras. In OHY we do not have long and complex mantras but rather use just few short syllables. Because of Guru Rinpoche's and Yeshe Tsogyal's blessings these syllables contain many buddhist deities, or simply buddhas. A buddha is not a god or a being outside ourselves but rather aspects of our own mind and pure awareness. In tantric practice it is common to cultivate mantras, relating to one or more buddhas, which automatically reveal our own pure and clear awareness in the place of the usual dualistic confusion. In this way buddhas and tantric buddhist practice can be explained. Find detailed information about the deities in OHY from Deities and Empowerments of Open Heart Yoga.
Another principle of Open Heart Yoga is breathwork through unifying the five vital energies (skt. prana). Applying breathing techniques, seals (skt. mudra), mantras and visualizations together, our mind is flushed with breath energy (prana) charged with the blessings of the buddhas. This has a deeply transforming effect on the mind and uncovers natural awareness (tib. rigpa).
Visualization is another core element of Open Heart Yoga. In OHY, we do not use complex visualizations but simple ones that still have a profound effect.
Read what people say about Open Heart-practice: Feedback and Comments.