Yeah, yeah, it's cliche to talk about love during the month of February. But it is a marker, and a reminder that love is powerful and needs to be recognized in all its forms.
And here I am, in February, talking about love.
First, I'll say yoga is love. Yoga is the embodiment of love. Yoga asks us to tear down layers, stories, walls, identities, whatever sheaths may be obscuring your truest self, forged by ego, and allow the purest form of love not just be emitted from within but to envelop all surroundings and truly become enmeshed in the world through the value of love.
Ram Dass, in his book "Polishing the Mirror" talks about the different levels of love:
Physiological, biochemical, sexual love;
Conscious, spiritual love
This third type of love, Dass writes, is unconditional, it's "soul love."
"To enter into the space of conscious love you become love — not loving someone or something, but just being love."
When I think about love in this context, I am reminded of the first principle of yoga, the first yama, ahimsa, which translates to non-harming, non-violence. If we are to truly embody love, we must exhibit ahimsa always. We start at ahimsa, caring for ourselves and all whom we encounter. We tread lightly, loving the Earth, acting in ways that cause as little suffering for others as possible. We see love as a state of being.
I love music. I love making playlists for my classes. Several years ago, a song came out by DJ Drez featuring his wife, Marti Nikko, called "I Am Love." I overplayed this song in my class playlists like a 12-year-old overplays Tik-Tok videos. The simplicity of the lyrics, producing a mantra of I am love over and over again was a novel concept for me. I had never before thought about the idea of becoming love. How do you be love?
But, listening to this song, and hearing the repetition, sometimes singing along, made it all seem more plausible.
Back to Ram Dass:
When I live in the place where I am love, I see love wherever I look. It's very far out. Imagine seeing love in everyone and everything. Love doesn't demand that you do anything about it. We're all right here in love."
When I think about how we can all experience love through our practice, and embodying the quality of love, becoming love, think about when you're on your mat in a pose, it can be any pose. You might close your eyes and take a body scan, feeling into every part of your body, finding gratitude for all that your body does for you. You can feel your breath flowing, and maybe listen to your heart beating. You can come to fully enjoy the moment, your experience of being in your body, undistracted from any cares or worries. You can exude love from deep within your being and feel that radiance begin to penetrate the layers of your skin.
Once the love begins to transmit from your skin you can beam it out into the space around you, sending waves of this state of being to everyone near and far. There is no harm. There is no hate. There is no jealousy, no judgment. There is only love.
It might be a fleeting feeling, but aren't they all? Yet, this practice asks us to return to this place again and again, seeking that connection, remembering our true essence, remembering that we can embody love. And the more that we practice, the easier we slip into that state again, and maybe it lingers longer, maybe it's not so fleeting.
And then one day, we carry it out into the world, and we start to live our practice, live our yoga. We start to embody all of the teachings that the yoga masters have passed along to us to carry on for millennia.
It's not an easy task. There are plenty of distractions that hijack our intention to embody love and live the yoga. There's the speeding truck that cuts you off in traffic, or the neighbor that won't stop playing their music so loud you can't sleep. There's the dog that barks before the sun rises and wakes you up, and there's the non-stop stream of news that keeps us reminded that there is a lot of bad stuff happening in the world.
And these distractions may not be easy to ignore, and some of them may require your attention, but they can always be confronted from a place of love rather than anger, animosity, bitterness, anxiety or any of the other myriad of emotions that can intercept our experience of love.
Michael Stone, in his book, "Awake in the World," says yoga continually points us back to our own lives, our bodies, our communities. It is alive and present.
Reawakening love and intimacy for one's self and beyond requires practice. This is not because love is something far way from us but because we forget. We forget that intimacy is near. We forget how to relax with others. We forget we are whole. Practice awakens the dormant and often invisible interiors of mind, body, and heart in order to establish amore tender, responsive, creative, and active self."
So, I invite you, for this month of February, the marker for us to remember to identify, call out and exhibit love, to take moments to remember, on or off your mat, that you are love. You embody love. You emanate love.
You can listen to the DJ Drez song, hey, maybe I'll play it in more classes this month. You can practice a mantra like Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, calling for all to be freed from suffering. You can meditate on the Buddhist loving-kindness Metta Meditation:
May all beings be free from danger.
May all beings be free from mental suffering.
May all beings be free from physical suffering.
May all beings know peace.
I'll be there with you, working my way into it as best as I can, knowing I will stumble along the way, but returning to the practice to remember, again and again, I am love.
Share the Love of Yoga this month:
Revolution Yoga members can bring unlimited buddies to all regular classes for just $5 drop ins throughout the month.
Non-members can drop in and bring a friend (2-for-1) to all regular classes.
Class cardholders can share classes on their card with a friend.
To access these special deals, please email us to set it up!
Live Your Yoga
Learn more about the Living Your Yoga 12-week program to dive into the yamas and niyamas, exploring concepts and methods to take your yoga practice off your mat and into your daily life.
Starts March 6!