Yoga means union, in part union of masculine energy and
feminine energy. The marriage of these two seemingly different parts creates a
whole that is both balanced and interdependent. What better week than the week
of Valentine’s Day to celebrate this union as we practice understanding the
marriage of these energies within us through the practice of yoga. Let me be
clear: we all have both masculine and feminine energy regardless of our gender
or sexual orientation. This week, I want to talk about the masculine, and
though we all have both, some of us exhibit more of the masculine and others
more of the feminine.To make it simple,
I’m going to label the masculine as “man.”
To be a man means to be courageous. Courage literally
means full of heart. Therefore, being courageous is being connected to emotions,
not divorced from them. Embodying this kind of courage has been a theme in my
inter-personal work over the past few years. To be courageous you must know
your own heart and that means doing the work, getting in there and finding who
you are inside. It means meditation and yoga. It means soul searching, often
times on a solo retreat, or a daily meditation or yoga practice, sometimes for an extended period, then coming back to
your family, your relationships, your work, passions, and hobbies with that courage,
that conviction and that strength of spirit to share that knowledge and
stability as a gift to the world.
To be masculine means to be conscious. It means being spacious,
holding space for the dynamic and beautiful qualities of the feminine. The
quintessential archetype for the feminine is the dancer, the beautiful,
expressive, dynamic, and changeable presence. The changeable world—nature,
time, and everything that moves—is part of this feminine realm. So, anything
that is changeable is an expression of the feminine. And the masculine’s job is
to be able to stand and witness this beautiful dancing feminine, to look it
straight in the eyes and let it dance. Hold space. Going into nature and
witnessing that realm of growth, decay, expression, and beauty is a marriage of
the masculine presence and the feminine dancer. Of course this consciousness
also extends into the realm of holding space for the women in our lives with
honor, love, and respect. To be a man means to appreciate and celebrate what it
means to be feminine, in the interdependent balance of wholeness.
Men are protectors. But to be a protector a man must be vulnerable.
Protecting means going into the darkness to explore the unknown in order to make
safe what you love. It means leaving the warmth and light of the fire to
explore the sounds coming from the dark woods. Nature is feminine therefore the
masculine can help protect it by giving a shit about our air quality and
natural resources. Being a man means protecting the feminine. Women are
certainly powerful. Let’s not forget that the lioness is the fierce hunter of
the family. But like a pride of lions, the protective males respond to any
abuse of the female. Like lions, men must help protect women. It’s a tragic
truth that one out of three women in the world have been, will be, or are currently
subject to physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Being a man means creating a
line of warriors, of lions, that will stand up to any abuse and say, “not on
our watch!” It means being conscious of a problem and saying, “no.” It is about
marrying the male consciousness and the feminine call to action in order to
make a world where all our brothers and sisters can enjoy living safely and nobly.
True strength is not about muscle, it’s about courageously exploring your
heart, it’s about consciousness, and it’s about being willing to be vulnerable in
order to protect nature, women, and all of us by sometimes challenging the
status quo. The yoking or yoga of these elements is the true expression of
In the name of standing up in opposition to the abuse of
women, I invite you is to look at this wonderful cause, One Billion Rising.
This cause is dedicated to creating a voice for the abuse of women, raising
consciousness, and making a difference in women’s lives. Any abuse of any one
of us hurts all of us. Or the local rising .
Choose this Valentine’s Day, the day dedicated to those
you love, to evoke the spirit of masculinity and stand up for women.
Check out this beautiful video “Man Prayer,” words by Eve
We don't need to change. We don't
need to improve anything. We practice deep compassion as we extend this same
privilege to other people and things around us and allow them to simply be,
especially those things that would easily turn our hearts bitter.
As we practice yoga and meditation,
we cultivate and practice being. We also reduce the suffering known as Dukkah,
which would hold us back from experiencing our highest self.
One act of holding space is
allowing yourself to be with a person or thing and allow them to be just as
they or it is. I'm thinking of a friend who is sick or experiencing something
mentally or spiritually challenging. Simply being with that person and holding
space for them, without the need to fix or change anything, just being, allows
a deep compassion to exist between the two of you.
Another act of holding space is the
decisive act of making room in your heart for that which would sooner canker
your heart with feelings and make your mind fester with "shoulds" and
"what-ifs." When you hold space for someone or something, you don't
have to fall in love with this person or thing but you are simply offering
compassion toward them or it by not becoming sour toward it. And by so doing,
you ultimately offer your own heart and mind in the same compassion--the heart
that flourishes when it feels abundance and love, not bitterness, and the mind
that abounds when it is sheltered from "should" and
Here are a few examples of holding
The NYC 4 Train: once
stopped en route causing me te to miss our flight home.
Me: bought a NYC 4 Train
T-Shirt--holding space for the 4 Train.
World: Just as it is.
Me: Accepting the world as
Holding space is often the first
part of forgiveness toward yourself and others.
This week, practice holding space
for things that you either don't understand or which bother you. Let's practice
this in class.