Let Your Life Reflect Your Practice
Excerpted from Art of Attention: A Yoga Practice Workbook for Movement as Meditation
Photo Courtesy of the Authors
As we practice, we are offering ourselves up, completely. Not just our body, our resources, our minds, but everything. Prasad is a metaphor for the Exchange that takes place when we practice yoga. Any effort we make, in our practice or in our lives, is our prasad. We bring in information, we emanate understanding. While prasad is usually a sweet gift we offer to a teacher, with this practice we explore the quality of the offering we can make in any moment.
In our postures, we offer our effort as our Emanation as we expand within the architecture of the pose. With this practice, we explore the quality of our effort in some poses. We see that it is all our choice. Rather than one big blast of energy that drains us, here we’ll practice consistent, curative, conscious offering.
When we’re relating to others, engaging in any way, instead of blasting our assumptions and draining ourselves, we can instead, with every glance, every gesture, every word, make a steady, stabilizing offering.
Do you typically fight—with others or with yourself? This is a practice in which to explore a consistent, steady awareness of what is. To practice being magnificently supportive of yourself, and learn to express yourself from a very steady and sure space.
Often we find ourselves making efforts and offerings that we didn’t intend to make. If we’ve consciously chosen to practice yoga, it’s time to recognize, consciously— whether it’s a word, a glance, or an action—how we are offering ourselves to the world.
Tadasana with Anjali Mudra | Mountain Pose with Hands to Heart
Fold your hands in front of your heart. When we’re relating to others, may we make offerings of our composure that are grounded, consistent, and exalted. Inhale deeply. Stand tall with your eyes closed. Feel in your body what’s resonating for you about this exploration.
Surya Namaskara A | Sun Salutation
Become more sensitive to your own breathing. Send your breath to the spaces in your body that need your attention the most; this will have the effect of slowing down time. Our aim is to slow ourselves down enough to truly listen to what is going on—to the people around us, and to ourselves at the deepest level.
Uttanasa | Standing Forward Fold
Exhale to fold down. Straighten your legs, relax your toes. Lift from your inner heels to your inner knees up to your inner groins; grow taller through your inner legs. Lengthen the space between your inner knees and your inner thighs, to stabilize your sacrum and receive more breath and space in your lower spine.
Press your heels back and straighten your legs forward into Plank Pose. Keep your legs strong.
Keeping your legs strong, bend your elbows, reaching forward from your pelvis, belly and heart down into Chaturanga.
Upward Facing Dog
Roll over your toes to point them as you maintain your legs, curl your belly and heart upwards into Upward Facing Dog. Broaden your collarbones and press down into your index finger knuckles to point your spine skyward.
Adho Mukha Svanasana | Downward-Facing Dog
Exhale back and lift your seat high into Downward-Facing Dog. Strong legs; send your upper inner and outer thighs back.
Adapted from Art of Attention: A Yoga Practice Workbook for Movement as Meditation by Elena Brower and Erica Jago. Copyright © 2016 by Elena Brower and Erica Jago. To be published in February 2016 by Sounds True.
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