We all possess powers and gifts that, when expressed, have a positive impact on more than just ourselves – an ease in appreciating beauty or tenderness, an ability to speak out against hurtful acts, the capacity to see a project through, etc. Earlier this month Anne Phyfe Palmer wrote about the yogic concept tapas, energy that supports us to shine or transform. As we step into summer, we invite you to enjoy a simple and brief tapas practice to harness your power to transform and shine.
Nurturing Power with Tapas
Reflect on an aspect of personal power you would like to nurture with tapas. This could be something you remember fondly from your past that you want to reignite. There may also be a power that feels particularly inspiring to strengthen or savor over the summer months.
Hold in Awareness
Choose a word or phrase to represent your power and take a few moments to hold in awareness. Notice any physical sensations in body that emerge, as well as emotions. Do you feel yourself smiling? Lighting up? Allow yourself to savor uplifting emotions. If grief or sadness bubbles up, know that’s normal as well. Sometimes we need to face a difficulty or let go in order to move into our strength. If that’s the case, explore holding these natural feelings with kindness and care. This can be challenging so you might consider how you would cradle a child who’s hurting, or tend to your younger self or a dear friend, or how a dear friend might hold space for you.
Engage Solar Plexus
Place hands over your solar plexus, the area just below where ribs meet – for a gentle approach rest one palm flat over the solar plexus and the other atop the first hand, or for a more active practice make a fist with the first hand, gently covering with the second. Soften or close eyes, and attune to any sensations or emotions that arise with this gesture.
Begin to silently repeat your word or phrase with every inhalation, your body’s natural capacity to nourish cells and tissues. Generously allow the power to permeate and settle throughout your body with every exhalation, your body’s innate way of softening and creating space. Elongate your breath if that would be beneficial. Notice what it feels like to allow your power to permeate your presence with the support of breath.
When you feel ready to release this practice, let go of any intentional breathing, gently open eyes and stretch your whole body. Again, notice what’s present – physical sensations, emotions, attitudes, insights, etc.
If useful, write your power word or phrase on a piece of paper, or illustrate, and post someplace you will see each day.
Posted by: Ashley Dahl, MSW, CMT-P // 8 Limbs Executive Director // she/her pronouns