Last weekend I was reading the children’s book One, by Kathryn Otoshi to my Son. The book tells the story of the color Blue…Blue is shy and the color Red begins to pick on Blue. Blue begins to feel…well blue. The other colors in the book are nice to Blue but will not stand up to Red and inevitably Red begins to pick on them as well. At that point, the number 1 shows up and stands up to Red. Then all the colors feel empowered and stand up to Red and become numbers themselves…the moral of the story being Everyone Counts.
I saw another message in the book…the power of 1; one person, one action can positively effect many. This became my inspiration for last week’s classes.
As we began seated I asked my students to connect to their power of 1, to remind themselves of the incredible power they have on the mat to connect to what they need in their bodies and off the mat to make others feel happy…or not so happy. We have the power and the choice. And making that choice starts with ourselves. When we cultivate joy and happiness with who we are, then our power of 1 can be turned outward and used for good.
We began practice seated and then lifted our legs and balanced on our Sit bones in Navasana (boat pose) to warm up the abdominals before moving into our Sun Salutations. As we flowed several times right from Downward Dog into reverse warrior and from there into Half Moon, we began to connect to the individual power in our bodies. From there we added bound Parsvokonasana to our flow and later we went deeper into the power in our bodies and hearts as we lifted the front leg (bound or not) into a balancing pose at the top of the mat (pictured above).
As we moved from there into Prasarita Padottanasana and runners lunge we could feel the ripple effect of all we had done up to that point. The heat that was building was releasing Tapas (clutter) from the body and allowing us to connect to happiness and acceptance in our hearts. Just like in the book; the actions we take have a ripple effect. On the mat, when we practice mindfulness and acceptance in our bodies, we find space, strength and flexibility; and off the mat, if we empower someone and make them feel strong and worthy…then they in turn have the power to do the same to others. Our good deeds can effect many.
We began to slow down our practice with Pigeon, Janu Sirsasana, back bending and supine twisting and from there, Savasana. As I walked around and gave final adjustments, I again connected to the Power of 1; the chance that each of us have to cultivate happiness within ourselves and put that out into the world is powerful. I felt hopeful at the ripple effects that could ensue and truly grateful for the chance to try. Namaste.