On Bhakti and Valentine’s

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At both Harlem Yoga Studio and Laughing Lotus (my two main yoga homes these days), we have a tradition of choosing a theme / dharma of the month. All classes are framed around that theme and the asanas all have something to do with them as well. This month, the theme at both these studios is Bhakti, or the yoga of Devotion (cue a ton of humble / devotional warriors in each class). I took a moment last week to journal about what comes to mind when I think of Bhakti and here’s what came up:

I am reminded, again and again, how vital touchstone practices are for human growth. I heard one dharma talk, years ago, from a favorite teacher at Laughing Lotus (Sheri), which particularly blew me away. The lesson was on leading from the heart, but mindfully and with integrity. This means that we let our hearts guide us, but we don’t let them flail around and guide us carelessly.

That dharma talk was given at a FLY workshop two years ago. Sheri stood in the middle of the room essentially showing with her body why all parts are necessary for well-being. She thrust her chest out and her a$$ back and said, “We don’t want to lead only with those two, do we?”

That is the beauty of the practice and why Bhakti is such a good theme for Valentine’s Day and February – a month that brings cognizance of the role of the heart out into the world. I find myself profoundly grateful to understand that dharma talk now, when I am in a romantic relationship and learning and learning to prioritize emotional self-regulation on and off the mat. 

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are single or not, take a moment to place your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your belly. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel the expansion, the regulation, and the feeling that accompanies love led with integrity: Everything is going to be okay.

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