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So far this year, we have discussed the five Yamas, or restraints espoused by the Sage Patanjali. Hopefully, you have found practical applications to put these Yamas into practice in your daily life. I thought it would be nice to take a break from the Yamas this week and, in deference to Valentine’s Day, discuss the topic of love. Love is such a loaded word; it can bring about all sorts of emotions depending on the effect of love in our life. Part of learning about the Yamas and Niyamas is to reflect upon on our behaviors and actions as we apply yogic principles to our life. Again, the ultimate goal being to bring peace and equanimity to our lives.

So, lets step away from our study of the Yamas and Niyamas for a moment as we discuss the topic of love. Instead, I will offer a primer in the chakras. The chakras are a deep well of information and study and can certainly fill up a calendar year of reflection. So, for the sake of this post, lets discuss only the seven, most studied, chakras that are present within our bodies. Starting at the base of the spine as we move up, they are: Muladhara (root), Svadisthana (sacral), Manipura (solar plexus/navel), Anahata (heart), Vishuddha (throat), Ajna (third-eye), and Sahasrara (crown). What are chakras, you ask? Well, chakras represent energy centers within our body, and they correlate spatially with areas of the spine. More importantly to our discussion, they also help us evaluate our own behaviors.

Let’s look at our lower body chakras. Muladhara (root), Svadisthana (sacral), and Manipura (navel) all really focus on our relationships within ourselves. We can focus on bringing balance back into our lives by placing attention into each one of these three chakras (holistically, or one by one). Let’s skip Anahata (heart) for a moment and jump to the upper body chakras. Vishuddha (throat), Ajna (third-eye), and Sahasrara (crown) help us focus on projecting ourselves outward.

As I tell my students, no one chakra is more important than the other. They all work together to create our full existence on this earth. However, the heart chakra is special in that it serves as a bridge to unite our lower body chakras with our upper body chakras. Our lower body chakras are more focused on universal consciousness (God, or that which is greater than ourselves) manifesting itself on earth through us. Our upper body chakras are humankind’s never-ending desire to seek liberation from its earthly shackles. The heart chakra is the bridge that connects these two.

I bring up the heart chakra because it is only through love that we can truly find union between ourselves and others. Love need not be romantic love or familial love. It is the love in recognizing the humanness in all of us. That each and every human being that dwells amongst us is interested (at their core) in survival, connection and power to tackle life’s challenges. When we can see that in others, then we can relate to them in at the most basic level of human existence. That is the true love that can wash away inequity, hate, and war. This Valentine’s Day, let’s not just seek precious moments with our loved ones, but everlasting peace with our fellow earthly travel companions.

Frank de la Cruz, E-RYT 200, YACEP is a Yoga teacher and writer who lives in Central Florida. Frank began his Yoga journey in 2011 and strongly believes that Yoga is for everyBODY.