Marianne Williamson writes in her book A Return to Love, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine… And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I believe this quote is never more appropriate than now, as we turn our awareness to spring and to the rebirth felt over the whole earth. It is so often easier to shrink from our power, shrink from the incredible being we are rather than allow our light to shine, to embrace completely the inner power we possess.
The winter is certainly a time to become internal, to store up reserves of energy in the form of more food and less activity. But now, as spring approaches, it is time to let the crocuses begin to poke you in the heart so to speak, to awaken a new awareness and shed the heaviness of winter, so that you too can have a personal rebirth into more lightness and ease. How does this translate into your yoga practice? Ayurveda teaches us that spring is the time to begin to eat lighter; in fact, nature gives us everything we need in the new greens, sprouts, baby vegetables, and grains that are lighter like quoinoa, amaranth and barley, all of which are prevalent during spring. The sun is up earlier and you may notice that your body naturally wants to get up a little earlier, taking advantage of the early morning light. We are meant to cleanse away the toxins of winter and if we don’t, it is likely that we end up with change of season illnesses or allergies. As for our yoga practice, now is the time to build big heat, to warm the internal fires. So, think Bastrika breath(the pumping abdominal Bellows breath), core work (especially poses like Lolasana / pendant pose and Tolasana/ scale pose which work all three layers of the abdominals), and arm balances such as Bakasana (crow pose) are great for beginners while advanced practitioners may want to move on to any of Bakasana’s cousins, like revolved side crow. Big inversions like Ahdo Muka Vriksasana (Handstand) and Pincha Mayurasana (scorpion) are also appropriate for this time of year. Of course, if you’re unfamiliar with these poses, attending classes for more information and alignment is important. But it is as important as ever to practice at home. The fastest way to progress in your practice is to do it everyday (or several times a week at least).
As you build internal heat and strength, lightness and ease of mind, you will experience the renewal of spring, uncovering the light within you, the part of you that shines with personal power. Rather than shrinking from this light, it will be uncontainable.