Mindful awareness

Monday, February 14, 2011

Finding Courage and Joy in the Same Breath

Happy Valentine’s day to all! February 14 is reserved for the celebration of love and relationship. It also is a day to recognize that many additional emotions are associated with love. Love is sandwiched between courage and joy. It takes courage to love another. Opening one’s heart to love another and enter a committed, intimate relationship makes both people vulnerable. Entering a loving relationship opens one up to the potential for rejection, pain, and loss. One does need courage to make the leap with all this at stake.

Oh, but once one does commit, the resulting joy that extends from the loving relationship is phenomenal! Partnership, support, acceptance, and warm fuzzy feelings all are joys that extend from loving another. A loving partner is a number-one fan and who doesn’t find joy in having a number-one fan? The support that a loving relationship provides may even generate more courage. The rewards are well worth the risk. If they weren’t then we wouldn’t have a day on the calendar devoted for this joyful emotion.

In celebration of Valentine’s day this week, I’m honoring courage and joy by practicing adho mukha vrksasana (handstand).  It takes courage to go upside down, supporting one’s weight on the hands. Some of my students haven’t experienced this sensation in decades. But we will work up to the pose, starting with an accepting, loving environment. We will begin by finding courage from our breath and arm strength. We will begin with breath of fire and poses that approximate adho mukha vrksasana, further developing courage and love for our bodies. Some students will find themselves in the full expression of the pose and some may even hold the pose for several breaths. Other students will use props and modifications to find their own expressions of the pose. But everyone will develop courage to take himself/herself upside down, even a little bit, and in that pose will find exhilaration and joy.  

Yes, it takes courage to come into adho mukha vrksasana, just as it takes courage to love another, but the resulting joy of both experiences is worth it!

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