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YOGA OF THE HEART -A LITTLE TASTE OF THE INFINITE
Yoga of the Heart: Sharing yoga and other joys with someone you Love!
Or, How to take relationship advice this Valentine's Day from a celibate monk who's been dead for over 2000 years...
Morgan Palmer Hubbard and Carlota Amargós are part of the NowHere Yoga collective, based in Barcelona. They are teaching Sunrise Yoga on Valentine's Day as part of a series of yoga workshops and ceremonies in festivals and events in NZ this summer.
It’s easy to miss in this busy world full of screens, distractions, and worries. But when we take the time to really look into the eyes of another human being, we immediately come into contact with the pure intelligence of life, looking right back at us. It’s a lot to take in – a little taste of the infinite! This living, breathing other, a son or daughter, a mother or father, a lover, a friend – in every meeting of minds and hearts, we are just a heartbeat away from illuminating our absolute interconnectedness.
When we look at the structure and development of the human being, it comes as no surprise that relationship is a potent force in our lives. Our bodies are made for relating: from the soft, sensitive front line of the body, our upright stance, and forward-facing sense organs, relating seems to be built-in as an important part of our evolution.
Relating authentically with another human being, we open our body-mind to the world’s most complex, potent paths toward neurological, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual development. This is why children play, why martial artists spar, why Acroyogis fly, why satsang with the wise nourishes and inspires us - and why lovers through the ages have found bliss and depth in each other’s arms.
Knowing this, we’re very happy to be sharing some partner yoga practices this Valentine’s Day, in collaboration with WE-AR as part of their Sunrise Yoga series! (Though we should say too, this Sunrise session will not just be for couples, no partner will be necessary and we’ll be exploring yoga practice in a range of ways from pairs to groups!)
We came to know each other through a shared love of yoga practice, and that love has both strengthened and been strengthened by our intimacy in other areas of our life. Not only is it a cornerstone of our health and wellbeing, which helps us maintain the energy and enthusiasm to really show up for each other in our work and play, but we’ve found practicing yoga together is enriching on deeper levels of our heart connection too.
This is because yoga in relationship is not just about getting your bodies feeling good together. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (and many other yogic source texts), we can find a stunningly clear treatise on how to relate, in the form of the Yamas, yoga’s ethical considerations that guide us toward harmony in our engagement with life and the world.
When we interpret our intimate relating through the lens of the Yamas, we see the fundamental dynamics of conscious relating laid bare. How can there be any loving relationship at all without some prior establishment in ahimsa (non-harming)? It will only occur in the presence of a genuine and gentle sensitivity. Attempts to dominate or force another person exclude that. Likewise, satya (honesty) is the foundation of any truly powerful relating as it builds trust, steadily illuminating what the relating actually is and thus allowing us to deepen and grow in it, rather than putting energy into maintaining illusions and lies.
Often we find ourselves in relationship to try and meet our own needs, rather than those of the other. Through the lens of asteya (non-taking) we see more clearly, once we make the shift from “taking from” to “giving to”, we open into a completely different level of authenticity and loving with another human.
In the modern world, we might get a bit fixated on brahmacharya, as it’s often translated as “celibacy”, which would then seem to go against intimate relating. In the context of a loving sensual and sexual relationship though, brahmacharya reminds us not to misuse our energy and attention in the relationship – to have fidelity in body, heart, and mind, not allowing destructive patterns of behavior to diminish the energetic synergy created between lovers.
Aparigraha or “non-attachment” does not mean not caring about our partners and loved ones. But it’s a recognition that relationships, like any manifest form, begin, are sustained, and also end. The vast majority of us have felt the pain of heartbreak, but also the liberation of a relationship ending when it no longer serves those involved.
If relationship truly can be a positively transformative experience, it must be received with gratitude, sustained with care and effort, explored with intelligence and enjoyed with contentment, and, if it comes to an end, released with equanimity. Which as we all know, is not always easy! But the Yamas make clear the truest, deepest direction of intent in our relating with each other. So may our loving BE our yoga, and yoga be our guide to relationships that nourish our selves, each other, and through that, the whole world!
Morgan and Carlota will be offering in the following weeks:
Yoga, Cacao & Ecstatic Dance ceremony at RAW Yoga in Milford on Friday 16th February
Back to the Source: a weekend yoga intensive at RAW Yoga 17-18th February
Presenting at the NZ International Yoga Festival at Kawai Purapura 22-25th February
Cacao Dance link: https://www.facebook.com/events/199139280827457/
Weekend intensive link: https://www.facebook.com/events/753880874822853/
KP Yoga fest link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1928812030781669/