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Melanie Rodriguez in camel pose with her arm up, looking at the camera excitedly

When sitting down to write this class theme on love, I actually found myself getting a little stumped. I feel like the word love is heard and shared often. We talk about how much we love someone or something. We talk about how important love is. We talk about cultivating love and the joy of being in love. There are books on love, poems on love, and it always seems that the highest rated podcasts are about love.

Love is like this thing that all humans are after…and for good reason. Love is one of the highest frequency emotions. When we talk about emotions, we are talking about energy in motion. As human beings, we’re constantly emitting an energy frequency. We have the option to emit high frequency emotions such as freedom, bliss, and love or low frequency emotions such as anger, jealousy, and guilt. Living with those high frequency emotions allow us to live in and experience the present moment to the fullest.

Love particularly, whether it be shared within or with another, has the ability to break down walls and stand with integrity. Love guides us towards full acceptance of oneself and those around us. Love supports us in honoring others’ needs and boundaries while at the same time honoring our own.

Because love is so sweet, I feel as if it is perceived as something that is rare. Only to be achieved if and when we are in some sort of relationship with another. But the truth is that love can and dare I say, should, be cultivated within to live in a constant state of love. I do believe the key to life and everything we desire is love. If we can live a life where we are completely and utterly in love with ourselves, then everything we have ever wanted is within reach.

Supporting Pose 1: Hero’s Pose (Virasana)

Virasana gets the shins and ankles on the ground prepping for the eventual peak pose. It also teaches to hug the outer ankle bones in so that the ankle can be properly aligned for weight support.

How to:

  1. Sit on your mat with smooth shins, aka tops of the feet flat on the ground.
  2. Nestle your bum between your feet and hug the outer ankle bones in around the sides of your bum. An option would be to sit on a block with the outer ankle bones firming in around the sides of the block.
  3. Bring your knees towards one another so they are not splaying out unconsciously and press the shins into the ground.
  4. Sit well with the head, chest, pelvis in line with one another.

Supporting Pose 2: Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

Extended side angle is a great pose to prep for dancing camel. For one, it gets into the inner groin muscles a bit which assists in backbending. This pose also requires the sacrum to have some forward movement so that the hips don’t jut back into space which would put the pelvis out of alignment. And three, the arm being overhead mimics the arm position in dancing camel.

How to:

  1. From warrior 2, hinge at the right hip and bring your right forearm to your right thigh. You can also place your hand to the ground or to a block outside your leg.
  2. Widen your right knee so the inner thigh is long, press the root of your left thigh back, and firm your sacrum forward. All these actions done together hopefully create good alignment in the lower body.
  3. Take your left arm overhead and alongside your ear and open the corners of your chest. Firm the shoulder blades towards one another to assist with the open chest and the top arm alongside your ear.
  4. Turn your belly and chest towards the side wall.

Supporting Pose 3: Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)

Wild thing has many similarities to dancing camel. This pose teaches the appropriate actions of the head, neck, arms, upper back, chest, and pelvis. It also carries a similar vibe as this pose too has a somewhat “dancing” aspect to it.

How to:

  1. From downward facing dog, lift the right leg off the floor for three-legged dog.
  2. Bend the right knee and open the hip.
  3. Start to flip your dog by bringing the right foot towards the floor behind you and simultaneously rotating the left heel to ground similar to what you would see in warrior 2.
  4. Lift your right arm off the ground and as your belly and chest begin to face upward reach the right arm overhead alongside your ear.
  5. Press your left hand into the ground, press your sacrum up towards the sky, and firm the upper back in to achieve this backbend.
  6. To exit, soften your knees to flip back over to downward facing dog.

Peak Pose: Dancing Camel (Ustrasana)

Camel itself is such a beautiful heart opener. Add in the “dancing” portion and now we’re really talking about moving through the sweet flow of life. The breath and body being in sync through the fluid movements creates a feeling of coherency and love.

How to:

  1. Come to a kneeling position with smooth shins.
  2. As you inhale, lift the bum away from the heels of the feet to a high kneeling position.
  3. Firm the outer ankle bones in so there’s integrity along the outer edges of the feet and shins.
  4. Press your sacrum forward as you reach your right arm back (and bring the right shoulder blade towards your spine) to connect your right hand to your right heel.
  5. Sweep the left arm across your face and over your head alongside your ear. Firm the shoulder blades in.
  6. On your exhale, come to center (release the hand from the foot and bring your bum to your heels).
  7. On your inhale repeat on the other side. Continue to “dance” back and forth moving with your breath for 4-10 rounds or when it feels intuitive to stop.