The Spider, the Fly, Yoga & Me. ~ Anne Samit

Via Anne Samit
on Jul 8, 2013
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listen to your heart

Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.

A warning to the naïve: this phrase has twice been directed at me.

It references a poem by Mary Howitt published in 1829 about a naïve fly ensnared by a less than honest spider.

I have met some spiders in my time; but, I really never thought myself to be the fly.

Why, then, have I bumped up against these words more than once?

The first time, I had just finished walking down the wedding aisle and had arrived under the Chuppah, the Jewish wedding canopy. Inside, waiting to greet us, stood the rabbi.

He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said softly, Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.

Ten years later, I heard this phrase again.

I had just finished walking down the hall and had arrived at my meeting.

Inside, waiting to greet me, stood my divorce attorney.

He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said softly, Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.

Coincidence? I think not!

Do any of us really ever consider ourselves naïve? Maybe in hindsight but, for me, in the moment, I usually think I know what’s going on. It’s only afterwards that I’m aware I might not have been so savvy.

I wonder where this greeting was when I signed up for yoga?

I had thought yoga was just exercise. I was surprised to find it was so much more, and now I think I am ensnared for life.

I had no idea that the practice would push at me, and I am far from savvy about the direction I am headed.

As a young adult, I had a certain naiveté of which I was unaware, an oxymoron in itself. I readily trusted, honestly believed and openly embraced. But some spiders since have taught me about the need for balance between trust and skepticism, between faith and cynicism.

You gotta have a little of each.

The other day, at the end of my yoga practice, the instructor gave a reading. We lay in our final resting pose of Savasana, the practice over.

The readings really work for me at this point because, for the moment, the practice erases all skepticism and cynicism. I lay there on my mat with only faith and trust.

And I feel good.

The reading spoke to the importance of opening our hearts to love, even if we have been hurt, even if it means being vulnerable.

Even if opening up our hearts and being vulnerable is what got us hurt in the first place.

This is all food for thought and sort of difficult to put into practice; it seems I equate vulnerability with naiveté and, for me, there seems to be a challenge in how to avoid the fate of the fly when opening the heart.

For some reason, I think yoga is teaching me how to do this. And, even though I have been writing on the subject for awhile, it’s hard to find the words to explain.

I just know to keep going back to the mat.

It’s not just that I want to practice; it’s that I have to practice. 

There is something about it that pulls me closer to myself and that, I think, is what may ultimately make it safe to be anywhere’s near vulnerable again.

At one point, I had a private lesson where the instructor was running me through the poses. I was in Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose, tilted to the side with one arm to the floor and the other to the sky.

I pushed my lower ribs forward and pulled my top ribs back, tilting toward the ceiling.

You have a very open heart, said the instructor.

This was news to me, but I was on my mat with not a web in sight.

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

Ed: Bryonie Wise


About Anne Samit

With the sole intention of exercising for the first time in her life, Anne Samit's simple quest to exercise ignited a therapeutic journey of self-discovery. She blogs on the impact of her practice, and her new book, Unfold Your Mat, Unfold Yourself: Essays on Yoga’s Healing Truths and So Much More, compiles these essays in an effort to share with readers both the awakening and the solace that she has found on the mat. A native Washingtonian with a passion for writing, an interest in painting and a background in public relations, she is presently an executive assistant at a health industry consulting company. Her two children live in New York City where they practice yoga, too. Connect with Anne on her blog and on Facebook.


4 Responses to “The Spider, the Fly, Yoga & Me. ~ Anne Samit”

  1. Hi, Anne. Well done.

    Welcome to the club–the club of those becoming ensnared in Yoga's deeper powers after a small innocent beginning. I actually start Yoga at my tennis club at my wife's urging because I thought it might improve my flexibility for tennis. Here's how I describe it in Yoga Demystified:

    I am a serious tennis player. You might recall that all this Yoga stuff started for me when I took Yoga classes to improve my flexibility for tennis. Yoga was great for this. I did become much more flexible and it did improve my tennis.

    What happened next was unexpected. I found that the philosophical practices of Yoga, especially focusing on the present moment, and detaching my ego from the results, had a far more beneficial impact on my tennis than the flexibility. The Yoga of the mind had a bigger effect on my tennis performance than the Yoga of the body.

    Next thing you know I'm reading the ancient yoga texts and writing about the Bhagavad Gita on elephant.

    Watch out!

    Bob W. Editor
    Best of Yoga Philosophy

  2. Anne says:

    Thank you, Bob. You tell me to "Watch Out!", but it's too late! 🙂 The first sentence of your comment summarizes exactly what happened. I recently spoke with the man who coached my son in tennis all his growing up years, and to paraphrase him, he said, "People think tennis is a game, but it's so much more. It's life. You face every emotion on the court and take that out into life with you." He was talking about tennis but describing yoga.

  3. BarbaraAnn says:

    what a beautiful piece of writing, Thank you.

  4. Anne says:

    BarbaraAnn, Thank you so much for saying so.