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I go to these really hard, sweaty yoga classes where the teacher will get us into some insane pretzeled-out pose and then keep us there for what seems like an inhumanely long-ass time. I even get up really early, out of my uber yummy warm bed and go willingly to this madness.

If an alien were to visit, it might think it a touch odd to see all these folks like me brushing sleep out of their eyes and contorting themselves on purpose.  And perhaps ever more odd to see them staying in the contorted spots rather than heading back to bed.

Why, you might ask, just like the alien might ask, do I keep going back?

The theory is that when we consciously place ourselves in challenging situations where we have to practice opening, breathing and loving through and into the difficulty, we are then better equipped to do it for real when life throws us the big doozies.

The theory can backfire, however, if we, in the midst of the hard time (the long pretzel-hold, the anxiety attack, the insomnia, the broken heart), clench down, zone out, resist or grit our teeth to get through it any way we can.

The reason I keep going back to these early morning challenge-fests is that there is something powerful and palpable about, as the 13th Century Persian mystic poet Rumi puts it, “not moving the way fear makes you move.”

In the midst of challenge, to love.  Rather than contract, to open.  Rather than hold the breath, to breathe deeply and allow oxygen to carry some lovin’ to our red blood cells, on the conduit of our breath.

“As if you were soaking in an ocean of love, relax open your throat, heart, belly, and genitals to receive love’s saturation. Lovingly melt your heart and body open as the fullness of this moment. ”

~ David Deida

When we decide to notice it, we are indeed in an ocean of love, even during the contorted pose, the anxiety attack, the insomnia, the broken heart.

So, if you’d care to join me this week:


Don’t endure something that’s bad or damaging to you; but do practice opening into the ocean of love, even when you want to throw something at your yoga teacher.

And feel free to comment below — now or after you Open!



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