The other day while I was on my way to the studio an ad came on the radio. “Increase Your Yield!” How appropriate.
How do I increase my yield? How do I allow myself to soften more fully, allow the prana to flow and penetrate more deeply? As I continue to practice Embodyoga® I continue to discover that just when I think I have gotten to the deepest place I can imagine, a deeper well is waiting for me. Since I hear far more advanced practitioners say the same, I imagine I have a wonderfully long journey of “increasing my yield” ahead of me. This practice of yielding is a practice of allowing. As we allow prana to flow, just as the water carves the streambed from the rock, as prana flows it creates the space. Time and practice allow us to increase our yield, because as we attend to the flow, it naturally increases.
Try this practice for allowing the prana flow to create the space.
Lying comfortably on your belly, let the breath be natural and soft. Feel how the impulse to breathe in only requires to slightest action, creating space that the breath, the prana, then fills. The exhale is purely passive in this easy, restful place. Breath flows in and flows out, continuous and easy as a gentle tide.
Begin to notice if the breath wishes to flow in any direction in the body. Perhaps you will feel the impulse of the breath wanting to reach a limb, one of the arms or legs, the head or the tail. Perhaps this desire to move will ripple through the body. Perhaps you will not feel any desire to move at all. Whatever you feel is fine. This is not a practice of creating a specific shape. There is no asana to achieve, no place to go, no action to perform.
Bring this awareness into your asana practice on the mat. The asanas are containers for the prana. But the difference in allowing the prana to carve the container versus creating the shape and then waiting- or worse, forcing- the prana to fill it is similar to the difference in a natural streambed compared to an articial waterway from the corps of engineers. Both serve as a path for the water to flow, but which one would you prefer to spend a lazy afternoon by?