As you sit and read: Can you feel your sitting bones underneath you? Spread this awareness so that you can trace your way from the sitting bones to each pelvic half. Can you feel how they relate to each other? In other words, can you feel where the right pelvic half sits in relationship to the left pelvic half? The natural asymmetries in our bodies can often be seen in this particular relationship of the bones in our pelvis. If this asymmetry is present in your pelvic girdle, you may feel it in how the sitting bones are arranged beneath you. Does one side feel more forward to the other? Rock your pelvis and see if you can keep track of the sitting position of bones in their relationship to each pelvic half as they move. Once your awareness feels solid, can you then influence how they relate to each other? Can you rock your pelvis in such a way that you can get them to move together as opposed to one leading the other?

The point is that, whether you can influence the pelvic halves in this way or any other, in order to do so one has to become aware of their relationship. To sum it up, this is the point at which our yoga practice of honing the skills as keen but objective observers becomes relevant. Practices in observation, like the above example are trademarks of yoga and other somatic movement practices. We cultivate a deep level of sensing in order to heal ourselves, move more easily, dance better or do whatever we want to with success. But before you get bored and eschew this part of your yoga class as some boring New Age crap, take a second to think of the broader connotations.

Imagine that you are in a tense discussion with several family members, and that the emotional stakes are high. If you can remain calm, centered and connected to your ability to observe without attachment, you can easily become the most powerful individual in this exchange. If you can observe before reacting, you may be able to assess the dynamics between all the persons involved. This information will empower you to make better decisions and avoid behaving in a way that may trigger the others into completely unproductive places. You may even be able to use your keen awareness of these interpersonal dynamics to carefully act in a way that influences the situation for the better for everyone. At the very least, if you can clearly see that the exchange is a useless and an ugly waste of energy, you can avoid becoming swept up in the mess and behave in a way that you can look back on with a measure of self respect.

Moral of the story: Stay calm and aware, so that no one can take advantage of you. Your base of personal power is an unshakable foundation as long as you can remain non-reactive. Remaining in the space between action and reaction is one of the most difficult practices that we can undertake as human beings. But practice this successfully, young grasshoppers, and your power of influence in any given circumstance will appear miraculous and unstoppable to the undisciplined around you. How else could Uma Thurman take down the Crazy 88?

What current situation could you apply the technique of awareness and influence? Is it work related or personal? Perhaps it’s a part of your yoga practice that frustrates you. Whatever it is, share it with us. We want to know how you claim this power.