Thursday, September 15, 2011
In the practice of yoga my teachers always remind me about the importance of creating a strong foundation when we begin evIery posture. The foundation is whatever is in contact with the eIarth in a given posture -the feet in standing poses, hands in arm balances, sitting bones in seated postures) is so important because it is our connection to the earth . A clear, strong and solid connection to the earth helps to keep us grounded and in turn helps to balance the whole body. Just as a foundation of a building must be level and stable to support the structure above, the feet (when they are the foundation) must be balanced and sturdy to support the legs, spine, arms and head. If the base is tilted or collapsed, a reflection of this will appear up through the body as misalignments. Teaching yoga to beginners always begins with creating the foundation and paying attention to it as a person moves into, around and out of the posture. The foundation is never skipped or done without precise attention. Everything unfolds from the foundation. If a person forgets or gets lost in a posture, I always remind them to go back to the foundation and start again. In our every day lives we have different foundations that we use to support our activities and dreams and goals. This summer I had the pleasure ofgoing on a 2 week camping adventure with a group of my good friends. 16 of us (11 adults and 5 kids) went to Neys Provincial Park on the shore of Lake Superior for a week and then 5 of us stayed on for a second week and camped at Lake Superior Provincial Park. We did lots of hiking, exploring, kayaking, cooking, playing games and taking lots of creative pictures. We had a wonderful time being together. I've been camping for my entire adult life and we've been taking my daughter since she was born. One thing I noticed while on this trip is that when we travel with a group we have a strong foundation for all of adventures and being together. Our foundation begins every morning after we all emerge from sleeping in our tents. Our foundation for all the goodness that will unfold every day starts with the Bodum and the really good coffee. My friend Barb is a coffee expert and brings only the best. Between the 16 of us we have a good number of Bodums, and even one that is big, stainless steel and is a thermos (heaven I tell you). Every morning there are the early risers who start the stove, boil the water and make the first round of the coffee. . Some people head off and go for a run, a walk, do some yoga, read a book, or just hang out and chitchat. Other sleep in and snuggle with their daughter (hee hee hee). A while later the second round of coffee would begin More chitchat, more coffee and the planning for the day would begin. At some point we would eat our delicious breakfasts (ok, the foundation for the kids might be the Fruit Loops or Corn Pops - it is vacation time after all - we all indulge in a few treats) and then our day of adventures would begin. These early morning rituals were a great way for all of us to connect, laugh and plan so that we each could do what we needed on any given day. Sometimes we were all together for the day, other times we split up into a variety of adventures. No two days were ever the same (just like in yoga, no two people ever have the exact same posture) but it all unfolds from a good commitment to the foundation - over and over again.