Sunday, February 15, 2009

February 14, El Dia de Amor y Amistad, and a yoga workshop

A friend of mine said that some countries don't celebrate February 14th as Valentine's Day, but the Day of Love and Friendship - El Dia de Amor y Amistad. I like that idea. (Thanks, RZ)

Yesterday, I also had the great pleasure of attending a 3-hour yoga workshop with Sharon Gannon of Jivamukti Yoga. The yoga practice was challenging yet light-hearted and funny; it pushed me beyond my comfort zones, yet in a loving way. I've never attended a workshop with a teacher who actually cracked a joke while we were in sirsasana. There I was, on my head, concentrating on alignment and stability and contracting my core muscles and distributing my weight evenly across my forearms AND deepening my breath, and then she cracks a knock-knock joke and I burst out laughing. While doing my best to remain in headstand. Sure enough, I had to come down from it, all the while trying to do it as gracefully as possible (yeah right!) AND trying to control my giggling so that I don't crash on the floor, or worse, crash into somebody else in the process (the room was packed with 70 or so people, and our mats were 5 or 6 inches away from each other).

Sharon Gannon has a unique way of bringing out the deeper aspects of an asana practice (the physical practice of yoga). We were practicing back bends, a pretty challenging part of the sequence. Back bends can be difficult especially if one has tight hip flexors, the psoas muscles.

Sharon said (I'm quoting as best I can), "Do you know what all that tightness is? That's all the unresolved issues. Your body is made up of every thought, every word, and every action in your life." She advised us to think of the statement "Blessings and love." She said to think of a person in your life, and on the inhale, go up into the back bend, while saying silently, "Blessings and love to..." and on the exhale, say the person's name. Let go.

That was the most loving back bend I've ever done.

February 14th was also a day of sending blessings and love to family, friends, and perhaps even the stranger on the street. Blessings and love to you. And you. And you.

"We need a witness to our lives. There are billions of people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? Your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness." (from the movie Shall We Dance... yeah, cheesy movie, I know... but I loved the story of Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere's characters in this movie).

Thank you, family and friends, for being my witness.... and thank you for giving me the honor of being a witness to yours.

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CloudWoman said...

Miaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I *loooove* (sorry, I'm gushing!) that movie line. :-) Yes, the movie was cheasy but that line sure made up for it.

Happy El Dia de Amor y Amistad!

Mia said...

Hey Nikki! Don't worry I gushed and sobbed (and I mean REALLY sobbed) the first time I watched it -- especially in one of the final scenes when he surprised her at work and they danced. I remember being really emotional at that time (before my grandpa died, when he was really sick) and his character reminded me of my grandpa.

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