We thought we were being clever. In preparation for Valentine’s Day, we sent two of our favorite people—Erica Reid Harrison, lead cake designer at La Cakerie, and her hubby John Harrison, a senior web manager—for a touchy-feely Partner Yoga session with local guru Sid McNairy of Sid Yoga Center in Towson (with an additional studio now open in Federal Hill). We figured they’s come out of the studio spouting adorably different Mars-vs.-Venus style interpretations of their experience. Turns out, they did us one better. Both had nearly identical (and very poignant) responses to the workshop, which consisted of face-to-face meditation, mirror poses and partner stretching. Either that means Erica and John are made for each other—or Sid is as good as his many loyal fans attest. (We think it’s probably both.) $125, private session. http://www.sidyoga.com
I always have a hard time touching my toes. But today, with Erica’s help, it was so much easier. She instinctively knew when to push and when to pull back. I guess that’s a pretty good analogy for our relationship. Like this morning. I was the one who got out of bed early to feed the cats and make a cup of coffee to stick under her nose. Tomorrow, she’ll do it. One of the most interesting parts of the exercise for me was the seated meditation when we were facing each other. It reminded me of this performance artist Marina Abramovic. During her MOMA retrospective, she asked people to come in and just sit across the table from her while they stared into each other’s eyes. In like five minutes, half of the participants burst into tears. Today was kind of like that for us, but not as sad. I could certainly see some sadness in Erica, but then I’d see love, and then anxiety and then love again. When you really take time to look at another human being, that’s a powerful thing.
John and I lead very athletic lives, but separately. I’m into running, he’s into long-distance cycling. Occasionally we’ll join the other, but we don’t really bond during those experiences. Today was totally different and not at all like I imagined. I figured it would be all about stretching, but I was surprised to find there was so much more to it. Yes, we achieved things together physically, but it was because Sid taught us to use nonverbal communication to cue into what the other person needs—to connect our hearts and use the actual warmth we generated to help each other. It’s funny, John always tells me that we can be in the same room together without speaking. And he’s right! Sometimes it’s nice just to breathe the same air. I think we will take some of the skills home—maybe even take time to stretch and relax together without the TV or the rush of making dinner. Relationships are all about learning to speak effectively and listen well. Now we can do it without even saying a word.