April 6th, 2017
Have you ever attempted the yoga pose known as Eka Pada Raja- kapotasana, otherwise known as King Pigeon? In this pose, you balance on a bent leg, while reaching behind you to pull the opposite leg up – all while putting an arch in your back. It looks similar to a mermaid on a beach and is quite elegant. The pose requires a lot of openings in your body, flexiblity, and calmness. Without these qualities, you could hurt yourself, or simply fall out of balance.
One of my teachers was recently talking about this pose, stressing the importance of safety. Like any good yoga teacher, minimizing his students’ injuries is of great importance. When discussing King Pigeon, he stated, “The body will open up when it feels safe.” My understanding of his statement is that when your body feels a sense of calmness and confidence, it can then attempt things new things and new positions. It’s not fighting against itself to stay safe. In the serenity, it can become more flexible, daring, and open. The pose itself is testament to this safety.
My ears perked up when I heard this. I immediately began thinking about the body in therapy and relationships. When your body feels safe, you then feel more comfortable opening up about your emotions to your therapist. When your physical body manifests safety, you may be more willing to explore your sexuality with a partner. When your body feels that calmness that comes with safety, your “spirit” may be more willing to connect with friends, sharing secrets and innermost thoughts.
You can actually be an active participant in this “opening up.” You can both sense safety and create safety. In the yoga class, I sense safety. I trust my teacher and his suggestions. I know that he is looking out for my physical health, while also encouraging me to try something new. And at the same time, I create safety by taking deep breathes, calming myself down, and relaxing into the pose - all while trying out something new and perhaps a bit intimidating. You can do this in your life outside of the yoga studio as well. Sensing where true safety is, all while creating an internal sense of peace and calmness.
I believe that sensing and creating safety are of the utmost importance. These activities allow us to become more open. And when we open up, not just physically but emotionally, we then can become as beautiful, posed, flexible, proud, and strong as the King Pigeon.
If you’re looking for a therapist or counselor in Dupont Circle, Washington, contact Mike Giordano at 202-460-6384 or Mike.Giordano.MSW@gmail.com.