My yoga instructor, Mina, proposes to her classes a theme for the month. Each week is an expansion on the theme.
January was RELEASE – to clear out all the unnecessary clutter, physical, spiritual, and mental. A letting go of anything that no longer serves.
February was simply BE – to settle into and breathe within the newly uncovered space.
March was REBIRTH – an emphasis on spring to encourage us to focus our new found energy.
And April? FEARLESS.
Mina explained that since we had cleared our minds, our lives, had settled into it and decided which course we would follow, we must go after our vision FEARLESSLY. While there are legitimate reasons for being afraid, fear that does not arise out of physical danger is a defense the ego creates. Fear is inherent to the ego and vice versa. This imagined and delusional fear keeps joy and love at bay.
Mina’s themes always align seamlessly to my life. Last night was no exception. Mina’s proposal to challenge ourselves, to attempt something of which we’ve been afraid, was exactly what I needed. A few weeks ago, I became disillusioned a tiny bit with yoga. I didn’t get much out of the 75 minute class and I wasn’t sure why. It seemed easy, too easy. I had reached a wall.
But last night, I pushed myself to a new limit. The deeper I sunk into warrior two, the additional inch I twisted, the more mindful I became. And the more mindful I was, the further I could push myself, the longer I could balance. I held positions longer, I breathed deeper, I let go of everything beyond the movement. I felt a fearless warrior rise up inside me…
I did a handstand for the first time in at least ten years.
Not only did I feel a rush from attempting and succeeding at something new, it was a joyous moment to acknowledge and feel the physical change of my perspective through an inversion. It undoubtedly served as a catalyst for a psychological shift. As Mina said, what we do with our bodies translates to how we manage our lives.
And so with the simplest of movements, through mindfulness, I expanded the limits of my body and increased the potential of each moment.
As I walked out of the studio, having completed the most conscious yoga class to date, I realized how yoga serves as a metaphor for life.
Yoga does not yield to us. It is not a practice that responds to stubborn resistance against weakness. Struggle won’t get you where you wish to be. Rather, a slow and conscious conquering of uncertainty will inevitably uncover the calming power of stillness that lies within. The more we settle and relax into the mindfulness of each pose, the more inner joy and peace we feel. The potential for conscious expansion is only commensurate with that which we offer up during our practice. Struggle will only promulgate more resistance, which feeds the struggle. Garbage in, garbage out.
The same can be applied to love and relationships. To love with fear means to love only partially. Fear takes hold of our hearts, leaving only a small portion open. In protecting our whole heart, we offer up what the fear has left untouched – which ends up reducing our ability and availability to receive love. So, in limiting our offer of love through fear, we in turn prevent ourselves from accepting it.
We’ve all been in relationships that ended prematurely, amicably or acrimoniously. These instances of “love”, I believe, are inculcated with fear, on one or both sides. The love remains incomplete. Even when audacity meets traces of fear, full mutual love is unattainable, unless the remaining fear is dispelled. Only the complete and joint release of fear yields true love. We will only ever feel the absolute essence of love if we fearlessly offer it – if we love with our whole heart.
And when your courageous love is met with complete reciprocity by another, you are unified. As the two of you take more courageous leaps together, your mirrored strength, joy, and love further bind you as one. Your mutual serenity engenders individual freedom from apprehension, which feeds an ever-expanding fearlessness and peerless consciousness. Such is the essence of true love.
To be fearless is to break free from the binding chains that keep us from our full potential. Letting go of our fear opens up the avenues that can lead us to who we wish to become. Feeling absent of fear is a powerful sensation. It brings with it the purest, unadulterated joy. And internal joy is the only successful path to eternal love.
As with all things, my yoga practice ebbs and flows as needed, a mentor always waiting in the wings with wise words of unparalleled aptness.