February, 2023


“The heart opens. The heart closes. This is the systole and diastole of human life. We may imagine that we want our hearts to stay open, but full-hearted generosity – with others and with ourselves – is all-inclusive. It is not a command. It is an invitation to meet ourselves, each other, and each moment exactly as we are.  

~ A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism by Pamela Weiss  


I spent years during my early yoga practice trying to “open my heart” with lots of back bending and stretching my tight pecs. I was trying to become more flexible and open in my physical body, but also more open in my metaphorical or “spiritual” heart. Through yoga and meditation practice, I had experienced some moments that felt expansive and radiant, and I thought that if I practiced enough, strived hard enough, and was “good enough” at yoga, eventually that feeling was going to be at least semi-permanent.  It took me awhile to understand that all that working hard was only making me more tense. 

I’ve noticed this experience in yoga, in the “wellness industry,” and in other spiritual circles. You get a taste of bliss – a good, warm, spacious feeling – and then want to keep striving to feel it again and again or work hard to not lose it in the first place. It’s human – we want more of what feels good.  

Once you’ve practiced for a few years or a few decades, you begin to understand on a deep level that everything changes. The grumpy mood changes, the anxiety about an event passes once the event is done, but also that the blissful feeling at the end of a yoga practice or the quiet spaciousness after a deep meditation will eventually change too. The heart opens, the heart closes. Our journey with our practice is “all inclusive.”   

An open heart means being open to all of it. Not just the feel-good moments, but to the heartbreak in the world. An open heart is a compassionate heart, one touched deeply by the world around us, by both the beauty and the difficulties. An open heart is not a passive receiving or observing of the world, an open heart is one that spurs action when needed.

As Pamela Weiss beautifully states in her captivating book A Bigger Sky: 

Being with takes steadiness of heart. It is about learning to meet what arises with receptivity, nonreactivity, and appreciation, even – or especially – when we don’t like it. This does not mean being passive. As we learn to say “Yes” to what is, we open ourselves to the possibility of responding with a clear “No.”  

“No” to intolerance, “no” to injustice, “no” to anything that tears the tender fabric that binds us.”


March 24th-27th, I will be leading a 4 day retreat to Harmony Hill Retreat Center, just an hour away from Tacoma. Through yoga and meditation, we will explore practices and themes around cultivating an open heart. Not to get lost in bliss, but to gain facility with meeting ourselves and the world as it is with openness, awareness and compassionate action. This takes intentionality, cultivation of inner steadiness, and a waking up to ourselves and the world around us with acceptance and kindness.     

In this retreat, we will explore the Brahma Viharas, 4 qualities or practices from the Buddhist Tradition that help cultivate an open and spacious heart. They are Metta (lovingkindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (sympathetic joy), and Upekka (equanimity). Through talks, meditations, and other practices, we will explore and deepen these qualities in ourselves.   

Contemplative retreat practice offers us the opportunity to pause the doings of daily life, and the chance to tune more fully into our bodies, minds, and hearts.This retreat will include a period of extended silence (Saturday midday through Monday morning) Silent practice offers the chance to limit the input of information we take in, allowing a gathering of our scattered energies, a clarifying of attention, and awakening of present moment awareness.    

There are just 5 rooms left, available as either singles or shared rooms with a friend or family member.   

I look forward to cultivating our compassionate hearts in community.  


With care,  

Erin Joosse | she/her  

Source Yoga | studio director 


Yoga For Everyday People

Source Yoga is a place to simply be, accept ourselves as we are in this moment, and connect with our innate wisdom.

Through the cultivation of present moment awareness through yoga and mindfulness practices, we discover and nurture our inner resources for self-care, ease, peace of mind, and compassion.

We welcome students of all ages and abilities. Join our warm, welcoming community in a supportive and non-intimidating environment.