Thursday, March 10, 2011
Finding What Supports You
When I say, "allow your feet to soften into the earth," it might sound like gobble-de-gook or hocus pocus until we begin playing with the way we actually use our feet. This shift in attention brings a level of understanding that can help with balance, with organizing your bones above the earth in ways that help transfer weight without stressing joints, and also lightens the load even in an emotional sense. First we try the communication system between the feet and the brain. Are the signals getting through in both directions? It's good to let yourself laugh when that little toe just doesn't hear you, or when the ball of the foot rises instead of the toes. As with any relationship, humor can help a lot as we gain an appreciation of the other's point of view.
In any posture, whether doing yoga or not, you can explore the grounding of your body. It isn't always your feet either, sometimes it's your sitting bones below you, or the angle of your pelvis that help settle you so that your spine can follow its natural rise. Investigate the way the bones rest on the earth -- exploring while laying down on your back for example, you can just notice the way your breath lifts and releases you and discover exactly which parts of you are touching the surface below you. Cherish this discovery of how your spine works, and allow your attention to follow the breath as it gradually releases tensions and more of your body can relax into the support below.
Standing you can do the same thing while gently leaning your weight into the inner edges of your feet and then the outer edges. What does that mean? Well, can you feel any weight in the inner side of your heel, or do you tend to feel yourself resting on the outer edge? Perhaps more of this than that in one or the other foot? Just find out. Try bending your knees slightly and feel the weight naturally seep into the heels, stretching the front thigh into the hip socket a little can do the same thing -- draw your attention to this and play with it. It may feel like you will fall over, but relax into it with a little shake, a little boogie woogie, and then settle back into it.
Once your communication lines are open, you can really draw energy up the legs from the earth; you can relax into your seat and feel an energetic lift in the deep core muscles; you can ease the shoulders down your back upper rib cage and feel your ribs freely floating over your hips.
If you find the support below you, you can rise lightly and feel freedom in the joints as well as the mind. Give it a try. Focus on it for a moment, whatever posture you're in! The deeper support will become evident once you allow the exploration to begin with the surfaces of things.