Mamma Give Me Money

Standing Bow Pulling Pose or Dandayamana Dhanurasana, is one of my favorite balancing asanas in the Bikram Yoga series. It’s a very graceful, beautiful pose that helps me connect with my strength and belief in myself. The physical benefit of the pose include an increase in circulation to the heart and lungs. The pose compresses the spine and improves elasticity. It helps relieve lower back pain and opens the diaphragm and lungs.

In the dialogue setting up the pose, the yoga teacher instructs you to take your right hand in front of you, with your elbow bent at your waist, and bring it out to the side. Then they ask you repeat the following phrase: “Momma give me money.” You are told to not to drop the money, and pick up your right ankle with your right hand. You then proceed to kick your right leg back and behind you, until you see your right foot coming over the top of your head. Your left hand reaching toward the mirror, your left shoulder touching your chin, with your chest parallel to the floor. And tada… one day in the future, splits in the air.

So let me go back to the “momma give me money” phrase. WHAT???? What does money have anything to do with your yoga practice? Often times when money is a person’s primary objective in life, greed and corruption can come of it. Why do we say momma give me money? A few weeks ago, during an early morning class, I had a teacher say before standing bow pose, instead of money today, ask momma for what you really want. And I responded, “Momma give me Love.” Tears followed my response and I went into the pose with a very open heart.

Earning money, gives us freedom, a sense or purpose, puts food on the table, a roof over our heads, an education, opportunities and other perks in life. Finding a way to earn money doing something you love to do is not a gift everyone has been able to find in their life. Not having enough money to pay your bills and feed your children can lead to stress, depression and in extreme cases homelessness. We live in a society, where money matters.

Here is something else I have heard Bikram say in his CD: when you have a healthy spine, you don’t have to chase the gods, the gods will chase you. You don’t have to chase money, money will chase you. You don’t have to chase love, love will chase you. All this from doing yoga? Well what this sweaty practice gives you is the ability to focus on yourself, and to have a higher awareness of distractions to your goals in life and the ability to not let disappointments or setbacks get in your way. If you fall out of a pose, you get back in, without hesitation. So you spend less time in life, complaining, or wallowing in what’s not going your way and finding ways to shape your life in the direction you want it to be going.

As a therapist, I listen to people complain. And I am often surprised how long people hold on to negativity and mourn the things that don’t go right. People don’t seem to expect setbacks, or failures. But that is what links us all as humans, things go wrong, our life, our path gets screwed up. If you wake up everyday thinking that the world will revolve around you and everything will go your way, you are setting yourself up for tremendous disappointment. The more open you are to life being a challenge and having the flexibility to adapt to situations, the more focused your journey will be.

Now back to the money. If you are able to focus on your goals clearly, know yourself, put 100% of your effort into every moment of building your dreams, success will come, money will come. I have had this happen to me. I have been lucky enough to structure my life and work schedule to fit in my yoga practice 5 to 7 days per week. And I do this because my life is better because of it. I don’t waste as much time in life on things that distract me from my goals. And I work hard, so very hard, I create my own sweat outside of that 105 degree yoga studio to produce results. I have a clear self awareness, I know who I am, and what I want. And am drawn to people that exude positive vibes, people that are successful, selfless, healthy and happy.

So what do you want in life? Do you know who you are? Start giving your spine some love and see what happens next.



About alexhewett

Psychotherapist, Actor, Mother, Writer,Teacher, Yogi, Optimist, Creative Soul, Dreamer, always striving to let my inner goddess shine...
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7 Responses to Mamma Give Me Money

  1. Mary says:

    Wonderful insights, Alex, as usual! I always thought we said “Mama, give me money” so that we’d take a moment and laugh to ourselves before trying this very difficult pose. Because, if you’re going to fall 10 times in 60 seconds (like I do in Standing Bow), a sense of humor is VERY important…

  2. cenecasful says:

    I always take it as a humorous thing before a pose…I try to focus on what the word carries rather then the social meaning of words. If we look too much at the symbol then I think we forget the meaning. The meaning in this for me is humor….to let go of the importance of money…. Hence maybe it is you who needs to let go of your own terms for money.

  3. cenecasful says:

    Also its momma give me money….Maybe we think of that day in the sun as children when our moms would give us money for the icecream man or something like that. As children we didnt have that understanding of money….Momma give me love kinda takes the humor away from the move for me. I think it is perfect as it is. Why think so much about it hah

  4. Lisa Jones says:

    Beautiful! Standing bow is one of my favorites, too. But the Give Me Money thing has always annoyed me. You have given me a new way to look at it — thank you. Namaste!

  5. Mary says:

    So, once again, your blog has led me to a new understanding of an asana, Alex! Since thinking some more about your post, I’ve really focussed (sp?) on staying in the pose, rather than simply holding it at my maximum for a few seconds, falling out and getting back in.That’s given me a different experience and a little more peace with the whole Balancing Series.

    So, thank you for that! I think the whole “don’t turn your hand” part of the dialogue works very well with whatever you’re holding that’s precious to you. And, “give me money” might (perhaps, since I’ve never met the guy) be a subtle Bikram joke about American materialism.

  6. alexhewett says:

    I know we are not supposed to be thinking during our practice… but sometimes in my mindful meditation, certain phrases inspire or intrigue me. So nice to hear that others have the same experience! Namaste!

  7. Kyle says:

    Bikram says “money” because he thinks that is wht we want. I used to have a teacher who said… “imagine you have a tray of cocktails in your hand”. Hahaha. That worked for me. Of course, you will never hear me say anything about that, just palm facing up, drop your hand down and don’t turn or twist your hand.
    I like to think that it is just a little humor to make the student smile. Standing head to knee is so serious. Standing bow is joyous, expansive, and deserves a smile.

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