Care Bear Stare

When I teach yoga, I usually open with a theme. It could be conscious breathing, calling something specific to mind, I might wax poetic about something that happened to me that really made me stop and think. I like to plan ahead so that I can tie it all into class, but I winged it Tuesday eve and it kind of was perfectly magical…in a goofball sort of way.

Rather than start with a talk or centering exercise, I got right in there with a rag doll standing forward fold, stretching the neck and hamstrings, eventually coming up to stand, taking the hands to prayer in front of the heart to get my students to find that hand-to-heart connection with the base of the thumbs resting on the base of the sternum. I asked my students to dedicate their practice to all those in Belgium affected by the attacks. To dedicate their practice to those affected in Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq. To anyplace affected by terrorism, even the US. I told them we’d be taking our hands to our heart throughout class and each time we did, to give our best Care Bear stare. I felt like I was dating myself and my ’80s childhood, but most seemed to know what I was taking about. I told them every time we took our hands to hearts in prayer to send love and compassion out to everyone everywhere who is suffering, even those that caused the suffering, who surely need it most.

It felt like a bold move to tell my class at the gym to do, but just about all of the 25 students come every week, eager to listen, eager to learn, used to my jokey personality. Every time we took our hands to our hearts, I said, “Care Bear Stare!” And I could literally feel the love being sent out. It filled the room up, it filled each of them up, helping them to smile thru the more difficult parts, giving them the confidence to try something new, to change their perspective. All because of a few Teddy bears who used their heart energy to fend off ne’er-do-wells.

We humans can use this heart energy too, bringing more love and compassion into this world, helping to make it a better, brighter, happier place. Imagine all the people, living life in peace…

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