It has been six months since I last taught yoga in a studio. I moved three hours north here in the great state of Iowa. It’s ten degrees colder, at least; it’s much more rural, and I moved here with only knowing ONE other person. His name is John and he has upturned my life in the best way. Some people thought I was crazy for moving, but my heart was sure. I could feel it’s confidence in my decision through every step of the way. I still feel that loving confidence. I know I am where I belong. That feeling that I have, that confidence, THAT is how I would describe love.
Love is a topic that meets us on the mat. Perhaps at home or maybe in a room filled with other people. I know on my mat I have had moments of pure self-love. Moments where I didn’t feel ashamed or not enough. I am not alone in this experience of self-acceptance. It happens when you’re 40 minutes in on a flow class or deep in the stillness of meditation. Love comes to us in other ways during the practice. I have felt Love for the people around me, sometimes strangers. Appreciating and accepting their existence, their significance, their power. In classes I teach I often have students use a mantra, or repeating phrase, during meditation. One of these mantras is “I am Love.”
Try it now, as you sit here. Close your eyes, lift your gaze just slightly, and breath smoothly and naturally. As you inhale repeat “I am” and as you exhale repeat “Love”. Inhale, “I am”. Exhale, “Love’. Continue this as long as you’d like.
This practice is powerful, because we are not focusing our attention on the things that we love and we are not focusing on the way that we love. We are focusing on the experience of Love itself. Love is confident in itself and so it gives us confidence in ourselves. You are enough. You are meant to be here. You have within you the power to love and be loved. You are Love. Through this practice we can identify with the strongest experience that creatures of this planet have: LOVE.
Happy Velentine’s Day.