Valentine’s Visvamitrasana

Planning my yoga class for tonight, I made a playlist with some devotional songs and some goofy love songs. And only one person showed up! The class that starts 15 minutes before mine is taught by our studio’s rock star and was packed. She had roses and live guitar. It’s not a competition, I told myself. It is what is it. And it was this: me giving a private class to my ex boyfriend. He’s never come to my class before. It was just a bit awkward. 🙂

“The subject tonight is Love

And for tomorrow night as well,

As a matter of fact

I know of no better topic

For us to discuss

Until we all

Die!

~Hafiz

We started in a supported supta baddha konasana and breathed. We did a bunch of supported poses. And I decided to read what I had planned. I read Nancy’s Valentine’s post about loving yourself. Not just using props for support, which does make you feel loved, but saying supportive words to yourself. “Love your honesty and your wit, your space and your distance.  Love that you know your boundaries and that you still sometimes push them. Love the places in your body that are less flexible than the person next to you, love your short comings and your strengths.” All of those lines had extra meaning for me, for us. Love your space and your distance, check. Boundaries and sometimes pushing them, check. For whatever reason, I prepared this class, and he’s the only one who showed, so maybe there was something I needed to say to him, or that we needed to experience together.

We did Surya Namaskar A very slowly, holding each pose for five breaths, then three, then one, and I helped him with his alignment and form. We used straps and blocks and blankets. Lots of heart openers.

And I read this: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”~Rumi

That part felt like a subtle castigation, yet it was just as much for me as for him. Starting with love of the self.

Here’s the eclectic playlist:

Bolo Ram, Wah!

I want to hold your hand, T.V. Carpio

Narayana/For Your Love, Krishna Das

I think I love you, The Partridge Family

Because, (Across the Universe)

What the World Needs Now, Jackie De Shannon

Om Sri Matre, Wah!

Heart Sutra Soulshine, Wah!

I hadn’t really perfected the playlist; I was out of time, and it came up a bit short, so we heard a couple of those awkward songs again. (I think I love you… Really?) We ended in supported fish and in Savasana with a bolster under the knees.

It wasn’t my best class. I fell victim to the Hallmark-ization of the day. I felt I had to do a love-themed class. Why should Valentine’s be different from any other day? Perhaps I should talk about love every day. I read that Rumi quote again. And said, imagine the love you feel for your valentine, and see if you can feel that same love for yourself. I still love him that way sometimes, and the challenge for me is to give myself that kind of love.

But the best part came later. I stayed for the next class. The teacher asked us to sit in meditation and watch what bubbled up. It was uncomfortable–hurt ego, self criticism, second guessing my choices of songs. etc. But the asana helped. Twisting and contorting Wild Thing into urdhva danurasana, and then for the first time in my life, I got into full Visvamitrasana! Compass is no problem… but when I lift up my bottom leg and try to balance on one arm and one leg in Visvamitrasana, the weight feels like it’s going to break my arm. But with the leg high enough on the arm, yeah baby! The extension, rotation, and heart opening of Visvamitrasana was pure joy. I had to smile.

6 comments

  • this was an awesome post.. how difficult but how opening this experience was! I know it wasn’t easy for you, but i love how you turned it into something terrific. love you bunches!

    • Thanks, Nancy. We see each other all the time and I knew he was planning to come to class, but it was weird without the buffer of other students. Classes have their own karma, and their own vibe. Privates are more of an intimate conversation. Still, I’m grateful to have been able to say to him, imagine the love you have toward your valentine, and love yourself like that. Of course, I probably still love him that way. My struggle has been to love myself that way. Ever onward and upward!

  • Wow J, this is very touching. I can totally relate to the self-criticism that follows when you may be a new teacher somewhere with the “rock star” teacher nearby…just want you to know, I LOVE your teaching. You ARE a rockstar! Crazy about the ex…it is no accident. Miss you and love you. 🙂
    ~mischelle

    • I subbed for a friend on Monday. I hadn’t really planned anything, since I was subbing, and was scrolling through the iPhone looking for a playlist, hoping for some inspiration. One of the students asked what the playlist options were. I said, “Kali,” “Shiva,” and then “LOVE.” I told them about the awkward class with the ex, ready to dismiss the LOVE playlist. Then decided to go with it. And you know what? It was magic. Really incredible how different the vibe was. Even the Burt Bacharach song, and especially the Beatles songs.

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