Energy Leaks

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I can do Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana). It’s no Cirque du Soliel or Yoga Journal rendering, but I can do it.

I can do Wheel, but unlike any other pose, I think about it before I get there. I know it comes at the end of class and that there may be one or three or more. Sometimes during the Warrior series, I think about it and wonder if I’ll have enough energy once we get into the floor series. Once we’re on the floor, I may be concentrating on Lizard (Utthan Pristhasana), but then I think, Ho Boy. We’ve still got Wheel to do.

When it actually is time to do Wheel, I set my feet near my hips, flip my hands around by my shoulders and… I reset my feet and tuck my hands in a little closer and… I take a breath and wiggle around a little and… I’m up.

Calm mind. Efficient body

We all have energy ~ physical, mental, emotional, life force energy. When it comes right down to it, life is all about directing that energy where we want it to go. When my mind runs around worrying and obsessing and my body wiggles needlessly, I’m leaking energy. If I’m leaking energy, I have less to focus on the things that matter.

It’s as if I’m paddling to get across a lake in a canoe that has a bunch of holes in it. If I actually make it across that lake, it will be a slow soggy slog. My relationship with Wheel is one leaky boat, let me tell you what.

Plugging the Leaks

The first step, as ever, is awareness. Do I realize I’m in my head fretting about how many Wheels Kelly is going to call? Do I notice that I’m fiddling and diddling around on my mat before I take the pose? Do I know that I’m clenching my jaw or holding tension in my hands or cracking my knuckles or biting my nails? The first step is to pay attention to how I’m draining myself or doing more than I need to. The first step in stopping up an energy leak is to notice that I have one in the first place.

The second step to plugging up energy leaks is to summon up my personal power to create a calm mind and an efficient body. This is where things may get a little tricky. Energy leaks are not only usually unconscious, but they are often long-held habits of body and mind. Even when I notice what I’m doing, I may be hard-pressed to stop doing it.

Intention and Curiosity

Plugging an energy leak is like changing any habit: set my intention to change, do my best and get curious about what happens. I might intend not to obsess about or wiggle into Wheel, and I find myself doing it anyway, or I may notice that I’m able to stay focused when I’m well-hydrated and practicing next to Gina. (Huh, check that out!) I might intend to spend 3 hours a week working on a new project and it might happen the first week but then I go back to my old habits after that. (Hmm, interesting. Maybe I need an accountability buddy.) If I want to eat less sugar, I might experiment with cutting back gently or going cold turkey, then I observe with curiosity and see what happens. (Urgh. Feel the sensation of the urge without acting on it.)

Calm mind. Efficient Body.

Directing my energy to what matters to me is what life is all about, and we all have leaks in our energy canoe. We all have ways that we fritter and wiggle and worry. If I’m squandering my energy on obsessing about things I can’t control or fiddling around with things that don’t matter, I’m wasting my most precious resource.

Calm mind. Efficient Body.

Plugging energy leaks is a life-long practice. Awareness of how I drain myself or do more than I need to, allows me to choose differently. Paying attention to the leaks and making choices around them is not only empowering but damned useful for doing what matters to you most.

Where is your energy leaking? In your mind? Your movement? Your life? Use the comments below to help each other recognize those sneaky places where energy escapes.

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 …annnnnnnd, I’m up.

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