Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions

L.A. yogi and former rock guitarist Steve Ross wrote a great little book that I picked up a few years ago and find myself returning to on a regular basis when I need a good yogic shot in the arm.

It's called "Happy Yoga," and while that title makes me twitch a little and cringe a lot, the actual content of the book is a hell of a lot more useful, grounded and down-to-earth than it might appear. Ross breaks down the ideal yogic lifestyle into some easy-to-digest chunks, looking at things like music, food, laughter, and of course, poses and meditation and whatnot.

One of the concepts in particular has stuck with me over the years. When I find myself bogged down by a lot of Real Life crap, caught up in my head and furrowing my brow, I always come back to this well-worn page. It introduces a concept called "Anahata," which is a Sanskrit word that means "unstruck."

Ross describes it better than I do:

Anahata...is also the name given to the swirling vortex of life force energy located in the area of the heart known as the Anahata chakra, or heart chakra. ...When this [opens], unconditional love gushes forth, and the lucky yogi with the open heart chakra regains a sense of being unstruck - as though no transgression, violation, heartbreak, or emotional injury had ever happened. (p. 57)

I think of this many mornings as I'm tumbling back into a backbend or Camel pose; I envision my sternum cracking open, shattering like an egg, and just opening up all Care Bear stare. So much of who we are is a pastiche of all the hurts or the losses or the imagined injustices we have experienced; I don't think we realize how much we carry those around like armor everywhere we go.

So think of that this weekend. Being "anahata." Choosing it. Living unstruck. And think of how differently we might all interact if we walked around like our chests were cracked open, loose and unbounded light shining out.

[Approaching maximum cheese content: signing out before it can get any sappier.]

Happy Yoga (Amazon.com)


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