And now—thanks to Obama's recommendation of a deep, deep Prince cut, and my need to stretch out airplane-scrunched back muscles—I've conjured some kind of crazy self-care magic. (New year's resolution: Be bored more often. Even science says it's good for you.)
The recipe is basically: one part yoga (cat pose and cow pose, specifically), with a generous helping of whatever Prince was channeling from the heavens back in 1983 during "Mary Don’t You Weep" from Piano & A Microphone.
Maybe shamans would say I'm moving stuck energy, and fitness pros would simply say I'm stretching longer (and getting more of the benefits) because I'm enjoying the music. But all I know is it has unlocked something I struggle to feel on a daily basis: boundless, smiling-to-myself, can't-help-it joy.
It has unlocked something I struggle to feel on a daily basis: boundless, smiling-to-myself, can't-help-it joy.
I already have deep respect for the cat-cow sequence, where you're on your hands and knees, alternatively rounding and arching your back. As Joseph Pilates once said (yes, the man who invented the Reformer and the 100s): "You're only as young as your spine is flexible." I do it on a regular basis, both to wake up my body and to ease PMS.
A couple of years ago, Kundalini teacher Desiree Pais taught me a variation that's even more intense: doing cat-cow as fast as you can for three minutes, as part of a larger Kundalini sequence to manifest prosperity. Afterward, it always felt like my molecules were somehow vibrating, and converting into steam—like I was going to float away. And yeah, I felt high. (Did it bring me prosperity? Hard to tell, but hey, it didn't hurt.)
Taking my cat-cow habit and adding Prince to the mix—especially this song—changed everything, though. At first I was just alternating the poses at eight counts each. The slow, soulful ballad almost immediately did something. A feeling of electricity started moving from the base of my spine to the top of my head. If it were a sound, it would've resembled the initial gurgles and rumbles of a coffee pot in the morning. And as I continued (speeding it up to four counts each, then two), there was a feeling of almost silent slipperiness.
Prince drops his trademark falsetto to hit some pretty low notes in this song, too (I thought it was a duet with a deep-voiced dude at first). Each time he does, my feet and hands tingle and feel extra-magnetized toward the ground, making me feel secure and earthbound somehow—the opposite of high. By the end of the four-minute song, my winter-chilled body is loose-limbed and radiating warmth, as if I had been laying in the sun for hours.
And, get this: When the teenage barista at my coffee shop cheerily urged me to "Have a happy new year!" at 7:30 a.m. today, I surprised myself by beaming, "You too!" And listen, I really, really meant it. I'm usually not that nice. Especially before 8.
So consider me a "no" for New Year's Eve parties—and it's not just because the joy of missing out, or JOMO, is particularly sweet when everyone in New York City is trying to get a cab at 12:30 a.m. on January 1.
I'm going to ring in 2019 with Prince. If the way you start the year really does set the tone for the next 12 months, it will be a happy new year.
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