with Chrisandra Fox
In this day, it is common to associate abundance with having a robust bank account and unlimited fulfillment of desire in the material or worldly sense. However, realizing abundance has been the practice of yogis and wisdoms masters throughout time as an important part of yogic consciousness. Part of this practice involves recognizing the ability to shape your life through the divine connection to the source of all energy and creativity. Abundance as a state of mind can align you more deeply with the essence of who you are uniquely and help you make this true sense of self unmovable in an ever-changing and growing world.
As yogis, we see the physical world as the manifestation of the unfolding creative energies within the Universe (and therefore, within each one of us) according to an evolving intelligence. The human sense of lack, limitation and separate-ness can be transformed by working with these creative energies through yoga and meditation and by shaping our individual consciousness to recognize the Supreme consciousness of the Universe. Even when the bank account is low.
Many of the world’s wisdom traditions claim that the key to realizing this abundance begins in the simplest of ways: having an attitude of gratitude for what you have and where you are right now.
Gratitude inspires contentment, and even more, a connection to the cup that overflows. And when our individual cup is overflowing, we tend to see the world’s cup as more than full. Experiencing the boundless potential of infinite energy and a connection to all of Life and its beings is the practice of yoga.
This month’s pose offers a twist on a simple gesture of gratitude that may support you to realize abundance in your life â€“ prayer pose. In cultures throughout the world, bringing the hands together at the heart symbolizes an offering, recognizing the Divine in oneself and others.
Viparita Namaskar turns that prayer around and helps open the shoulders, chest and heart area, while improving flexibility in the arms and wrists. From here, there are endless possibilities for holding the quiet prayer of openness, graciousness and abundant fullness both on and off the mat.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. On an inhalation, spread your arms out widely. Rotate your upper arms in so that your palms face back. Continue to internally rotate your arms and draw them behind your back. Bend your arms and take hold of your right elbow with your left hand and your left elbow with your right hand.
Pause here and feel the stretch across your chest. Root through your legs and draw your upper arms back, keep your forearms resting on your back body for a few breaths.
Now, loosen the grip of your hands and slide your hands up your back to the space between the shoulder blades. Spread your fingers, resting the backs of your hands on your back body. Take a few breaths here.
Gradually, lift your elbows away from your side ribs, draw the upper arms back and press your palms together, beginning with the pinky fingers towards the thumbs.
With hands resting in prayer behind your back, draw your navel to your spine and lengthen your spine. Avoid the tendency to overarch your low back.
You can take this prayer into several poses. Step your feet further apart and fold forward for Prasarita Padotonasana II. Or, step one foot back and fold over the front leg for Parsvottanasana. Finally, stand with feet hip-distance apart, keep your hands snug into the mid-back, draw the elbows down slightly and lean back off your front thighs into Anuvittasana, a standing backbend.
When you are ready to release the pose, extend your arms out widely and up overhead. Bring the hands back to prayer and draw that prayer to your heart space, resting in the warmth of gratitude for the endless possibilities for devotion, creativity, connection and abundance.
Chrisandra Fox teaches 5 weekly classes at Yoga Tree. She leads The Heart of Renewal Retreats and teaches and mentors students in Yoga Tree’s 200-hour Teacher Training program. Email Chrisandra@gmail.com.
Photography by David Martinez.