Over the last 10 years on my journey as a Yoga Teacher, I have continued to become more fascinated with what the body can do. I read and study bodies on my own but I always want to know more. So, for the first time in many many years, I am studying again. I am reading Kiniesology books, attending weekly 3 hour lectures, taking quizzes and I am excited about it. Last week in Anatomy class we studied the skeletal structure of the feet; how they are perfectly structured with three arches that distribute the weight of our entire bodies for our entire lives. That is truly miraculous. Nature discovered millions of years ago what it took Man thousands of years to discover; the power of the arch in architectural design; how it allows for distribution of weight evenly so beautiful structures can be created without needing support columns.
As I began to craft my message last week, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how miraculous the design of the feet actually are . I remembered a quote I had seen from Albert Einstein “There are two ways to live your life. One way is as though nothing is a miracle. The other way is as though everything is” Appreciating the everyday miracles that happen each day around us, in our bodies, on our mats and in our worlds as well; that was my inspiration for classes last week.
So, as practice began, I shared this inspiration with my students. I asked them to take a moment as they held the soles of their feet in Baddha Konasana to connect to the miracle that is the largest arch of the foot. As we flowed through our Sun Salutes, we focused on connecting to not just the largest (medial) arch but one of the smaller ones as well, the (lateral) arch on the pinky toe side of the foot. I reminded them to be aware of the feet and to press through all four points on them. We used Vashistasana (side plank) to connect deeper to the outer edge of the foot and Virasana to connect to the top of the foot; where the third arch (that creates the half dome shape of the foot) resides.
As we balanced in Tree pose, I asked them to appreciate the everyday miracle that was occurring; one perfectly designed foot was equally distributing the weight of the entire body. Then we practiced Bakasana (crow pose) which asks us to not use the feet at all. This served as reminder of how much we would miss them if we didn’t have them. As we explored handstand, we practiced not just lifting mindfully into it, but how to move out of the pose in a mindful way, in a way that truly protects all of the 26 bones in each foot. The 52 bones in those two structures take us where we want to go, both on our mats and off…truly miraculous.
Just like we very rarely focus on our feet off the mat (perhaps only when we think about what we are putting on them), there are many other everyday miracles that we may not connect with; things that just work, just fall into place each day; that we tend to take for granted until they stop working. So, as I reveled in the miracle of the feet last week, I also challenged myself to find some everyday miracles off the mat. I realized that I needed to be grateful for the days my son wakes up, dresses himself and heads downstairs excited for school, instead of just frustrated on the days he doesn’t. I also connected to the miracle of the incredible pinkish orange that the leaves on my favorite tree are turning in front of my eyes. These are the everyday miracles that we could all just miss…..or not. We get to choose. “There are two ways to live your life. One way is as though nothing is a miracle. The other way is as though everything is”
As I taught my classes last week, I found myself more connected to the miracles happening on the yoga mats around me. I saw muscles lengthening and strengthening and backs and hips finding flexibility. I saw feet opening and hearts opening too. I felt connections to the everyday miracles happening all around us. By reminding others to cherish their everyday miracles on and off their mats, I was REMINDED of mine as well. HOW MIRACULOUS. Namaste.