Yoga with Melissa 335 Poetry In Motion: The Invitation

by Melissa West on

Heart Opening Yoga

Heart-Opening-YogaIn the spring of 1994 Oriah went to a party-an ordinary party-and in her own words, made “a real effort, to be sociable.” She asked and answered the usual questions: “What do you do for a living? How do you know the host? Where did you study? Where do you live?” Oriah says she came home with the familiar hollow feeling of having gone through the motions. When she came home from the party, she sat down to sort through her feelings. She used the format of a writing exercise given to her by another poet that we will definitely be meeting in this series, David Whyte and wrote about the party conversations. She wrote about what did not interest her and what she really did want to know about herself and others. Oriah Mountain Dreamer says she, “went to the centre of the ache for something more between myself and the world and the prose-poem, “The Invitation”, poured onto the page.”
I think we can all relate to the feeling of going to a party, meeting people and being met with the impossible task of getting to know another person and expressing the depth of who we truly are in a short exchange.

I cannot tell you how many times I aim to steer conversations away from you are a yoga teacher? Or you make money putting videos on Youtube? in social situations because it is impossible to go to the depth of what I offer as a teacher and communicator of profound spiritual wisdom.

Through the Invitation Oriah offers the inspiration, the intimacy, the courage and the commitment to live fully, every day. She reminds us what she herself says she needed “to hear again and again: that life is full of beauty and pain; that the world will break your heart and heal it, over and over, if you let it, and that letting it do both is the only way to live fully; that we are not alone but deeply connected to that which create, and sustains all life.”

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

Props Needed: 2 blocks,

Yoga Postures/Asanas: Sahanavavatu mantra or Peace Mantra, Supported Fish Pose or Salamba Matsyasana, Half Moon Side Bend, Cat Pose or Marjaryasana, Pigeon Pose or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Vajrapradana Mudra, Breath of Joy, Natarajasana or Dancer Pose, Half Moon Balancing Pose, Wide Legged Standing Forward Fold or Prasarita Padottanasana, Matsyendrasana or Lord of the Fishes Twist, Janu Sirsasana, Savasana


Oriah Mountain Dreamer


Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

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Today’s question to answer in the comments is:
What is your favourite poem?
What poem would you like to see included in this series?

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We have a beautiful class in our membership community that will take you deeper with the themes that we have explored in this class called the Warrior’s Heart. Through this class we explore the various warrior postures: dying warrior, warrior I, warrior II, warrior III, and peaceful warrior. Each represent a different aspect of the warrior’s heart. We also spend some time opening the warrior’s heart and breaking down the armour that builds up around our hearts. I hope you enjoy this class and that it inspires your own definition of what it means for you to live with a warrior’s heart.

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Namaste Yoga 335 Photos of Yoga Pose


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