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Rockin’ Your Abhyasa

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It was a blissful 60 degrees in New York City this week.
That may not sound like much to those of you from warmer places, but after the
bitter cold of the past few weeks, it felt like summer around here. The
emergence of lighter jackets and bare legs led my mind to the next natural
progression: bikini season.

My actual thought was, “Oh no! Bikini season’s almost here!”
and then I laughed. Where did that
reaction come from? First of all, I don’t wear a bikini, and second, if I was
asked to, I could rock a two-piece with the best of them. That’s because I’ve
been practicing yoga for 15 years, and it’s paid off in a physical way, as well
as every other.

I realized that our dharma, or life’s path, is a lot like
bikini season, too. When we get on the yoga mat, we’re in training, preparing
for the moments in life when we will be asked to step up, to reveal ourselves
in some way, and to show our true self to the world. When those pivotal moments arrive in your life, will you be

Every yoga pose and each moment you feel challenged is an
opportunity for you to step into your skin, become the most of yourself, and
hold your center even in the midst of great intensity. When you can do this,
your dharma–the things you are called to do, say, or be to fully express who
you are–will become much more available to you. If you do the work, that is.

Let’s say you’re a writer, but you never write your book.
Then comes the day when you’re at a party and meet the head of Random House who
wants to see your work, but you’ve got nothing to show on the outside for all
your inner creativity. You’ve missed an exciting possibility, all because you hadn’t yourself dedicated to taking action.

In the Yoga Sutras, the sage Patanjali asks us to commit to
an ongoing spiritual practice, or abhyasa
in Sanskrit. You can make your life into your abhyasa. You can learn from it,
make it yours, and let it move you forward towards your life’s work. And by developing a consistent yoga routine and facing down
Crow or Handstand each week, for example, we build the courage to step up. We
dedicate ourselves to the work at hand with honesty and integrity, never
knowing when we’ll be called into action.

You know that saying, “When the student is ready, the
teacher appears?” Well, get ready, in all the ways you can, and when your next
teacher shows up–in the form of a wonderful relationship, a loved one’s
illness, a new job, more (or less) money, and yes, even bikini season–you’ll
have all the tools you need to rock it, too!

Core Question: What can you do to commit more fully to your
own dharma, or life’s work? Let us know how you plan to dedicate more time and
energy to it!

Core Pose: Crow Pose Preparation

This pose will build the strength, balance, and bravery for
Crow Pose, so when the teacher announces it in class, you’ll be ready to fly!

Come into Malasana (Garland Pose), with your feet wide. Curl your torso inside the
knees, and with bent elbows, plant your hands shoulder-distance apart. Lift
your hips and knees higher, but bend your elbows lower and press your knees as
high on the upper arms as you can.

Lean forward
until your chest floats out in front of the thumbs, and your gazing point makes
a triangle with your hands. As you ground through your fingertips, hug your
knees and elbows in, and lift strongly up through your core. Your feet should lighten off the floor.

Next Step: Lift your heels towards the sitting bones and see
how ready you already are for full Crow Pose!