by Kara-Leah Grant
Welcome to the fifth Creative Sun Salutation Abundance flow here on The Yoga Lunchbox.
This week we explore our final three postures, facing the back of the mat.
As always, we’re using the same tools and techniques to find freedom and ease in our bodies – breath, micro-movements, pulsations.
It’s also becoming more clear how it’s possible to evoke a sense of abundance through a sun salutation.
Our first posture this week is about releasing and bowing to the earth – there’s a sense of connection in to receive nourishment, which can only be done when one is in an open yet relaxed state.
From that place of surrender and openness, we draw back and gather in that which we have received – the nourishment.
Finally, we take the nourishment and we expand out, flowering and fruiting to offer our gifts to the world.
This is the interplay of abundance on the yoga mat, that is mimicked in our lives as we learn to cultivate abundance off the mat.
So often we think abundance starts with getting something from outside of ourselves – money, rewards, goods, service, or even praise and recognition.
However the true start of abundance comes from within. It comes from acknowledging the great gifts contained in you and your life and the necessity of these gifts within the world.
What gifts do you have? They may be physical – maybe you can run fast. They might be emotional – you may be able to feel other people’s pain deeply and support them in their difficulty. They might be mental – you might be a whizz with numbers. There are many different gifts that we can have, and it’s not until we unearth our gifts and develop them that we can start to really feel abundant.
To do this we have to become firmly rooted in our own sense of self worth. We have to know and believe that we have gifts (everybody has gifts!), that those gifts are worth developing, and that those gifts have value to the outside world.
Once we establish this sense within ourselves our inherent self-worth, it is easier to recognise and develop our gifts. it flows naturally. We’re worth something, that which we do well is worth something, that which we do well is worth something to other people.
Recognising our own sense of value means we learn to nourish and nurture ourselves and our gifts. We take time for the things that bring us joy. We do things even though they may not bring us income.
When we get to this place of nourishing and nurturing ourselves, it’s inevitable that our fruits and flowers will flow effortlessly into the world. We start to experience a time of harvest – a time of abundance.
Now is when we flower with offerings and we draw opportunities to ourselves like bees to pollen.
This sense of abundance is not reliant upon a big bank account or a large salary. It is a feeling-state that arises out of an awareness of the blessings around us at all times. We feel generous and content at the heart of our being because we know that without us and all we have to offer, life would be missing one small important piece.
This final part of the sun salutation evokes this sense of surrendering to our sense of self-worth, nourishing and nurturing our gifts and then flowering and fruiting out to offer those gifts to the world.
It also brings up any doubts or insecurities we may have. Maybe we find it difficult to humbly bow our head and connect into the earth to receive it’s bounty. Maybe we find it difficult to draw back and receive all the goodness within. Maybe we feel emotion arising as we open up and offer our gifts to the world.
Through the practice of the physical postures, we notice where we may need to do work, or where we may need to bring loving-kindness awareness to deeper parts of our psyche.
Work with this sequence over and over again, within a Forty Day cycle, and you put full attention on these aspects of your life. This means you will need to take action both off the mat and on the mat. One thing spills out into the other.
This is how our yoga practice, done with the right kind of attention, can help us evoke certain qualities in our lives.
“Acknowledging abundance (Aparigraha) we recognize the blessings in everything and gain insights into the purpose for our worldly existence.” ~ Yoga Sutra 2.39 translation by Nischala Joy Devi, The Secret Power of Yoga
Aparigraha translates as non-hoarding or non-possessiveness and I love how Nischala has used it to mean abundance in this translation of Yoga Sutra 2:39. When you feel abundant from the inside out, you need for nothing, except what is there in the moment. There is no need to hoard something for later, nor is there a need to possess something or take something that isn’t yours.
There is trust in the inherent nurturing nature of life and all that is offers, and there is trust in offering what you have freely to the world.
This is abundance.
Enjoy playing with these energies in your practice this week.
This video is designed to be used after you’ve learned and integrated Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 & Week 4 into your practice.
If you haven’t yet watched and played with those videos, make sure that is where you start.
After you add this segment to your sequence, you may wish to finish off the evolving sun salutation anyway that works for you. Make sure you do both sides! You have all the components for a full circular sun salutation now – after finishing the last posture you step back into Downward Dog facing the back of the mat, and then do the same sequence again on the SAME leg. This takes you in one full circle of the mat.
Finally, you do it on the left side of the body, starting on the left leg twice in a row.
Next week, we’ll put everything together and I’ll talk you through the complete Abundant Sun Salutation.
If you have any questions about the practice, please leave a comment.
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Why it’s Possible to Evoke Abundance through a Yoga Practice
Want to experience more Abundance on the Yoga Mat?
You can sign up for workshop I’m teaching in Napier, December 12 & 13 2014, The Bhavana Immersion.
We’re covering four feeling states, including abundance. Find out more here.