Tuesday, February 14, 2012
valentine's day, love and yoga
So, it's Valentine's Day, the one greeting card holiday that fills most single women around the developed world with absolute trepidation. How can it not? With the emphasis on dinner dates, heart-shaped chocolates, long stemmed red roses, and Valentine cards. The whole thing is built around the idea of coupling, having someone special to share it with.
Recently, I've been on the fence about V-day in general. I am single and female but decidedly not bothered by this detail. Last year's Feb 14 was a trial as I sadly moved out of an apartment I shared with a partner. This year's is a cakewalk in comparison.
More than anything, it feels odd to make a fuss about love one day a year. Surely, we should be celebrating love, declaring ourselves, being loving and generous with gifts, flowers and chocolate every day of the year. Maybe we might even break out of the mold and give each other presents of the heart rather than the standard tokens.
In fact, this morning, Valentine's Day seemed to be an afterthought. I casually greeted everyone at the start of my first yoga class at Yoga Manila, Chi Spa, remembering only because of the unusually small turnout, which I attribute to pre-Valentine date preparations. Then at my solo pho lunch, my server delivered my bill with a complimentary heart-shaped cookie with "LOVE" iced on it. I thanked her politely and went on my way, feeling too tired to really digest the holiday.
Later at home, exhausted, I wondered whether I'd missed the point somehow. Had I turned into some embittered single, a Valentine hater? Hater no, but my ambivalence worried me. Here I am writing about love and all that. What do I have to say for today of all days?
So this is what I came up with:
I'm not having a typical Valentine's Day, to be sure, but today is filled with love--the last few days, in fact. Weeks--no, more! And I feel so utterly blessed.
I have felt the support of the yoga community here in Manila, who have welcomed me into their teaching spaces, some of whom know me very little but have been so lovely. And it feels so good to be teaching again. It feels amazing to share with students.
I'm slowly reconnecting with my Manila network, within the yoga circle and beyond it. I am inspired as I practice beside truly committed yoga practitioners. I am overjoyed to meet in "sangha" or "community," to talk about practice, to share struggles, and to help build each others' dreams, which somehow seem to flow into the same pool eventually: teach, spread yoga, be happy.
I still feel the steady uplifting energy of my beautiful friends from Mysore. And, of course, I feel the support and patience of my family as I trek all over this sprawling mass of urban chaos, tying up the extra set of wheels they usually employ to get to and fro work; that-is-love!
So, after some thought, YES! I feel so incredibly loved today and not just today. If I really am aware, it's everyday! For me, at the center of this love-fest is yoga. Yoga, which means union. And well, St. Valentine, supposedly a renegade priest who illegally wed young lovers, resonates with the union of Shiva and Shakti, the divine couple, the unbreakable union. Love and Yoga. Same, same, no difference.