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Lupercalia, for Some

February 15, 2010

As this year’s valentine’s day closes I find myself surprisingly devoid of cynicism or angst…or murderous anger or any kind. Ok, admittedly, I’m having a bout of indigestion due to the extremely rich Indian food that I prepped for myself, complemented by plenty of red wine, but otherwise I am feeling great.

Who knows if perhaps I am just maturing and realizing that self respect should help me to abstain from wallowing on a VD spent uncoupled, or if I’ve recently (this morning) become enlightened. I really can’t say, but surely by this point it is obvious that I believe that it isn’t Wheaties that starts a day off right, but quality yoga.

Predictably, this morning’s yoga class at Area Yoga in Cobble Hill was ever so slightly VD themed. Thankfully, the instructor did not harp on it.  I’m guessing no one in that class was getting too excited for the faux holiday at hand or else they would have been leisurely preparing for sex, or brunch…or maybe the two simultaneously. Fair enough- maybe that isn’t how successful couples celebrate the big  VD holiday, but seriously, I wouldn’t know.

Supposedly, VD celebrates love, the art of love and sharing that very same entity with someone/anyone/the world. Yoga is all about this. Unlike the rest of the world, love is celebrated EVERY DAY in a yoga class, so maybe that is another reason why this yoga teacher today didn’t get all into it. Perhaps she was just humoring everyone’s lingering desire to have some sort of acknowledgement of this much celebrated hallmark holiday, much like I am planning on doing right now.

Back to the beginning of my morning and how I didn’t eat Michael Jordan endorsed breakfast cereal to kick start it. Yoga. Ah my sweet beloved.

The long and the short of this post is that I had a magnificent day, all by myself on the most ridiculous holiday ever created that may or may not have been created to single handedly snub the single population. It is my belief that with an open mind, I was able to open my heart during my early morning yoga class.  I did some hasty research on the nature of opening the heart in yoga and what I found was quite interesting.

Look, I won’t get too into it because I’ve already linked to the article so that you can read it with out my erroneous presumptions but physiologically speaking life is a set up for us to live with a closed heart. Sleep poorly -bam, closed heart. Stress at work – shebang, close ‘er up.  Single on the magnificent holiday of St. Valentine’s Day- throw away the key. According the Yoga Journal article there are any number of scenarios that can cause us to close up or shelter our heart centers and all of these things lead to holding of the breath, shortening of the breath or other erratic breathing patterns. Basically, I would best explain this as general anxiety and all of the physical maladies that are associated with it. Ugh, come on, you know that unhappiness actually physically pains you. Don’t deny it.

Fear not my heavy hearted friends. Prepare to turn that frown upside down — with yoga! Cheesy as it may sound, my yoga class this morning left me feeling amazing and prepared to face a day with a smile that many single people face from beneath a heavy cloud of cynicism, mistrust and sadness. Everyone knows (or perhaps not) that the lynch pin of a successful yogic practice is the breathing, well, throw in some heart openers and you’ve got a happiness cocktail. Couple that with a real cocktail, and you are totally set.

My class was a vinyasa series, so there were down (adho mukha savasana) and up dogs (udhva mukha savasana) a-plenty but another posture that we did often was upward prayer (namaskarasana). Other unassuming poses that can be used to trick your tightly bound heart into opening up to the world are cow pose (gomukhasana),  cobra pose (bhujangasana) and bridge pose (setu bandha sarvangasana). These seem to, in some degree or another, come quite naturally to most practitioners. If you’re really looking to free up some emotional breathing room you may want to try king pidgeon (eka pada rajakapotasana), upward bow (urdhva dhandurasana) or camel pose (ustrasana). I wouldn’t be lying in saying that it took me 1.5 years to not “go on strike” during camel pose. I can be a little high strung at times and prone to anxiety and it just seemed absolutely impossible for me to get into that pose. I couldn’t figure out why at first because I’m plenty strong and extremely flexible. As I gradually was able to attempt some semblance of the pose, it occurred to me that the days I found it most difficult, or subsequently most rewarding, were days that had been emotionally tough or stressful. Basically, if I had been at work that day I would struggle into camel pose, try not to die but be eternally grateful for it after I realized I had survived.

These days, I can generally successfully execute ustrasana but I never thought I’d live to see the day where I would thank it for showing me a lovely valentine’s day. It pulled out all of the stops. Treated me to breakfast, got me a mani and a pedi — a cocktail. Kept me smiling throughout the day and then it even wined and dined me with a quiet evening at home.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kait permalink
    February 15, 2010 9:50 am

    That was lovely.

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