Throughout February, with all eyes on Cupid using his bow and arrow to stir up romance and mischief, I have worked with two main focuses in my classes: Self-love, or Atma-Prema in Sanskrit (the idea of I AM LOVE) and Ardha Chandrasana, or Half Moon Pose, as the peak asana (or pose). The energetics behind the two, the concept and the posture, feel closely related.
The mantra I AM LOVE resonates softly and gently opens the heart, the seat of compassion, empathy and patience. Repeating these words as we sit in meditation in the beginning or end of practice helps to bring us back to our natural state of being, as we peel the layers away and come back to a core truth: as I rest and expand from my heart center, my natural state is love. I come from love. I am surrounded by love. I reflect back love. Love is at the center of it all.
As we go through our day to day lives, this truth may feel quite removed and unreachable. Our lives are busy, obstacles stand in our way, life is full of complications. Even on our best days, we are busy and often over scheduled. Personally, I have been working to come back from years (I don’t even know how many- maybe close to a decade?!) from a chronic state of overwhelm, causing clarity to seem very far away and apathy to seem very close at hand.
But as we step onto our mats and enter our practice, the whispers echo and bring us back, over and over again, to our natural state of being. We are brought back to love.
What are the feeling states of love? Expansion. Abundance. Warmth. Joy. Balance. Patience. Perfect equanimity.
The question is, can we find that perfect state of love in the center of life’s beautiful messiness? Can we rest easy in the center of the storm?
We are invited to explore this relationship through Ardha Chandrasana, or Half Moon Pose.
As we approach Ardha Chandrasana from Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), the standing leg stays firm. We are encouraged to move slowly and mindfully, exploring how the transition is approached. As yoga is always a practice that goes much deeper than what is happening on the mat, the way we transition from one asana to the next also serves as a reflection on how we deal with transitions or changes in life. Where are our anchors? Since change is our only constant, and by our very nature we are always in flux, this is a concept worth some serious reflection.
Our aim is to move through with care, with patience and with stability. In Ardha Chandrasana, the standing leg is the anchor through change.
The back leg lifts with the hip externally rotated, the foot strong and flexed. The top arm stretches up to the sky while the bottom hand stays on the ground (or a block), providing yet another anchor from which to take flight. We are active and engaged, yet effortless and light.
By the way, I so appreciate that hand on the earth. As someone who struggles with balance, having the sense of being grounded gives me the confidence to seek expansion.
As the full expression of the pose is reached, there is a glorious suspension between earth and sky. Ardha Chandrasana is open and expansive, with energy radiating from the belly through the legs and spine and from the heart center through the fingertips.
Expansion. Abundance. Warmth. Joy. Balance. Patience. Perfect equanimity.
As we reflect on I AM LOVE, we can embody it through this beautiful asana.
And that is the heart of the practice.
If you are visiting or living on Ambergris Caye, Belize, join me for weekly classes around the island. You can find our regular schedule at www.sanpedroyoga.com. Classes are held in outdoor locations surrounded by natural beauty throughout the island, inviting you to connect with nature and deepen awareness of mind, body and spirit.