Lisa Sanfilippo asks...
19 February 2015,12:00:54 BST
Wellicious Ambassador Lisa Sanfilippo asks… What if we declare February ‘Make Love' month? What would that mean to you? Read about yoga and the art of loving here and you can join her for a special workshop at Triyoga on Friday 27th February in the heart of Soho, London. (Book here - www.triyoga.co.uk/book-courses-workshops?x=1&teacher=137)
And yoga... does it help us to fall in love? To make love? Yes, we can start by focusing on the heart chakra in class as I'm doing this week, and let's also look deeper. I love how Erich Fromm's classic book, The Art of Loving, says that, 'mature love is UNION under the condition of preserving one's INTEGRITY'. And yoga, as we know, is all about union. Does a sun salute or a handstand help me to find integrity and a mature kind of love?
When I open my chest and heart space through asana (postures), I know it removes the physical tightness and nervous system agitation that can cause me to be tense and reactive. I breathe better, so I'm more receptive and present. And research shows that yoga can change the brain's chemistry. Movement and breath create relaxing, pleasurable and exhilarating feelings. OPENNESS, GROOVINESS...we loosen up and our eyes shine. It's physically a lot like falling in love.
So, asana makes a start.
And then it's easy for us to keep getting ‘high' on the yoga...it can give pleasure or even (with our culture of Instagram look-what-I-can-do yoga pose photos) attainment or approval. With this mentality, our modern culture of romantic love urges us to tick a series of lifestyle boxes: with badges and emblems of love.
But really LOVING takes a lot more. For my two cents (pence?) love is private, quiet and un-photogenic. Think of it this way: we can see plenty of images of people having sex, but how can we possibly capture ‘making love'? It's like the difference between photographing asana and meditation...I promise I won't show you a picture of me doing it. I've seen 'meditation selfies'. Does the paradox of it make you laugh, too?
Fromm says that in order to love anyone else, truly, we need to first be able to sit with ourselves. And so ‘making' or experiencing love...how do we do that in yoga? To love my dearest ones, I can't just love their brightness, I have to see and accept their darkness, foibles and vulnerability. My ability to sit with that makes me a better friend and lover. How does that happen if I can't sit still with myself?
I've come back to twice daily meditation practice after a long period of more sporadic meditation. Mantra, mantra, mantra, again and again. Showing up. Then breathing into the back of my heart. Being with it all.
It's not pretty. Some uncomfortable stuff comes up. Sitting with it alchemises it somehow. I'm slightly quicker to recognise when I mess up, and own up. Sitting with myself- literally- makes me feel more loving and open to receive love in big and small ways. I can't show you that on Facebook either.
Closing our eyes quietly separates us in some ways...so it can feel scary. Fromm says that the greatest anxiety in life comes from a feeling of separateness. Too often, we can want either to be subsumed within another or to bend them to our will. Instead, being whole involves a SEAT of LOVE inside in which I'm here, and so are you. True yoga, like love, penetrates all the layers (koshas) of physical, energetic, mental, emotional, and deep wisdom to the blissful part of ourselves.
It's shown up like this: a week of (re-)commitment, and I feel more conscious of my emotions, can let them pass without reacting, and can hear my intuition more clearly. And as for writing about it, I only share this because it may help you to remember or find your own still sweet place, to encourage you to fall in love. It's about soul based integrity. It starts with asana - but that's merely foreplay to the act of the greater love-making.
So this month, and beyond, cue up the torch songs, the sun salutes, and the meditation cushion and let's make love.
© Lisa Sanfilippo 2015.
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