Yoga for Valentine's

I wanted to share a bit about my experience this morning. Our entire yoga practice today was dedicated to opening our hearts and I absolutely loved it. Each pose and every twist encouraged a lifting up and out. I got into the strongest "head stand" (which you don't really use your head at all for, it's all forearms and upper body) in my whole yogi lifetime. Very excited about that.
At the end of the practice the instructor had us do our savasana on a bolster. In everyday terms, we laid on top of a hard foam cylinder with the bottom edge at the base of our tailbones so that the bolster ran directly under the spine and head. It had elements of a traditional savasana—arms at 45° angel from our sides with palms facing upward and – my favorite part – eyes closed. But this was not a resting corpse pose. With our legs up at 90° and feet planted on the wall (in a sort of seated position), we worked to get the entire length of our spines on the bolster with no part of it lifting off, including our necks. Gravity pulled at my sides, allowing them to melt around the bolster, while working against it to keep my lower ribs together and sternum to close to my spine. This is such a great exercise for people like me who sit at a computer all day. Balancing on the bolster while trying to keep every part of my body in just the right place was no easy task, but it was amazing to feel the rocking on the unstable bolster start to slow to a complete stop. "Feel the bolster support your spine, start to trust the support and feel your legs become lighter." I have always been a believer of/in the mind-body-spirit connection. And there is something about really using your body, pushing its limits, trying something new that opens up all sorts of possibilities. For me, it translates and permeates into all other aspects of my day. You may wonder why I chose to share this today, on my first married Valentine's day. I felt that my practice this morning truly did open up my heart. I was more tolerant, patient, understanding, it was easier for me to communicate, delegate, own my personal responsibility.

(here's the stretch) A healthy relationship can act like that bolster. Only after I allowed myself to trust the support that it offered my spine (the body part that connects everything to everything else and houses the nervous system, which controls all movement and feeling) was I able to achieve effortless balance. Only after I achieved balance was I able allow my chest and heart to completely open. I let the reader connect the dots.

A pleasantly surprising side effect of the class today was the increase in confidence we all seemed to walk away with. I smiled as I listened to other students talk to each other about it, also smiling and walking a little straighter and a little taller.

Oh, I love mornings like that.


... said...

I have one of those foam rollers at my house and I'm sooo excited to go try that out!! Thanks for the details. :) Happy V-day!

The Hokanson Family said...

love yoga.