Increase Your Yield by Abigail Clarke

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?





3 thoughts on “Increase Your Yield by Abigail Clarke

  1. Thank you once more for a fantastic contribution. I particularly enjoyed reading about that distinction you make between creating a shape and allowing prana to fill it (no way to force it) and allowing the prana to carve the shape. In my practice I have gone back and forth, there are days, weeks when I have felt the need to shape, in order to sense the prana flowing and filling me. These days I am more content to let the prana fill me and carve its shape…I think it goes hand in hand with the type of activity that we practice off our yoga mat. This summer I am fully engaged with the land and getting into all sorts of shapes while farming. This is different from my previous occupation which had me in a chair for most of the day. Now that’s a shape that prana fills in odd ways!I spent yesterday afternoon by a river and enjoyed a swim in the chilly water, it was invigorating. Really gets the prana flowing!Namaste.


  2. lovely and beautifully-written :)but it occurs to me that sometimes, in order to more fully inhabit our bodies, we do need a temporary corps of engineers to intentionally re-direct flowsuppose, for example, you grew up in an era of strict sexual repressionevery natural urge or innocent inclination you felt as a child was harshly countermanded by a strong word, a fierce look, even a physical slapand so you grew the ‘natural’ stream of your nervous system to bypass the danger zone of the sexual centerand then suppose, as an adult, you noticed a curious deadness in your pelvic region; and you weren’t happy with that, wanted to be more alive therethe natural stream, in that case, wouldn’t be where you wanted to spend a lazy afternoonit would be going where it always goesrather, it might be beneficial to construct new shapes for the prana to flow – shapes that opened the pelvis, called prana in, let it move through, etcsometimes a little intentional redirection isn’t a bad thingnature adapts a thing beautifully to it’s contextbut sometimes a context isn’t beautiful, or naturalin that case, helping nature find its true path *despite* the contextmight be the most natural thing to do(beavers build dams too 🙂


  3. (and, I would add, sometimes the most effective way to redirect that flow IS to simply relax, and *let* it go there, like a free-flowing streamthe beaver army corps on;y comes in when the *allowing* just isn’t doing the trick)


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