Do you know how powerful you are?
Power to control your breath. Power to align your body for more flexibility and better health. Power to create a new experience for yourself that is not limited by what you currently think is possible.
If you’re on the path of yoga, these are your yogi powers.
Power to create a new experience unlimited by thought is why yoga has become such a mainstay in my life, and I hope in yours. I unabashedly depend on this practice, as do so many others, to invite purpose and happiness into my days. Without it… well, it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be here.
Here’s an important note about personal power: Power cannot be denied to you, but you can deny yourself power.
When you feel like you’re on the outskirts of your life, and you’ve lost the creative spark — or really any spark — to feel excited about your day, it’s not because you don’t have the power to feel happier. It’s because you’re not tapping into your power.
It’s hard to do this for ourselves, especially when we’ve been taught or have learned to be powerless, usually in our youth. But this isn’t about being undermined by maniacal, Disney-villain power. Power is simply the ability to act in a particular way — a way that is defined by you.
Discovering your essential yoga power
Even if you don’t like to ask for help (like me), it’s still common to feel as if the power to feel more alive and fulfilled is “out there.” And you’ve probably spent a lot of time looking for it. Rough estimate: Your whole life? (I know I have.)
Then today, or some other day, a teacher of yoga comes along and says, “You have the power, right now, to feel however you want to feel.”
And you’re all, “Um, yeah right because then I wouldn’t be feeling this awful all the time!”
And the teacher says, “That doesn’t mean you’re powerless.”
So you say, “Wait, so I’m powerfully making myself feel awful?”
And the teacher says, “Precisely.”
In that moment, even if you still can’t fathom how to feel better, you realize that the answer is no longer “out there.” The answer to your dilemma is somehow found within.
If this teacher cares about you, which she does, she will guide you toward tapping into the power you already have, redirecting it in the direction you deep-down want to go.
None of us deep-down want to remain miserable. It’s just that when you start to slip-and-slide into misery, your mind starts to sabotage your efforts to get out.
This is why you can’t simply think yourself out. You have to take action, and use tangible techniques and steps that will take you from orbiting your goal to being pulled up to the surface, up-close and personal with enough-ness.
This hit home with me recently when a fellow yogini suggested that perhaps the reason I haven’t been satisfied lately with myself as a yoga teacher is because I’m holding back my yogini power.
What power, exactly? The power to create an experience where you realize that you are enough. That you can, and will, take back your power to overcome depression, anxiety, grief, discomfort in your body, discomfort in your life.
This is what I want for you, because this is what I want and have done for myself.
This is my yoga power.
Are you holding back yours?
Let me know in the comments what power you hope to tap into through your yoga practice. I’d love to know so I can guide you toward a happy, fulfilling life.
Asana Practice: Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog, Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
While this post may have been about yoga’s power, I couldn’t let you by without some power yoga. This is a classic transitional pose for many yoga traditions, usually attached to Sun Salutations or standing sequences before stepping forward into a lunge.
When practiced solo, you’ll quickly learn how powerful you can physically become. This pose requires concentration and engagement, not only of the lifted leg, but everywhere your body still makes contact with the mat, especially the hands.
- Come to Downward Facing Dog. Firm the knuckles of your first finger and thumb into the mat. Spiral your inner elbows toward one another and wrap the triceps around the shoulder heads. Soften your knees and your neck. Feel the thighs spiral toward one another and the tailbone lift up and back.
- Raise the right leg toward the ceiling. Keep the hips square and the pinky toes pointing down so that the inner thigh spirals up to the ceiling. Extend and reach through the lifted leg, anchoring your upper body in your Downward Facing Dog shape.
- Maintain one long line of energy from fingers to lifted toes and breathe evenly into the right side. To develop strength: When you become fatigued, take one more big breath and then lower the foot down to the mat. Otherwise, listen to when your body needs a rest.
- Drop the knees into Child’s Pose before practicing the other side.