Mountain Pose and Life

On some regular basis I will start class by asking everyone to simply stand on two feet. I encourage all that are comfortably capable to place their feet hip-width and parallel, but that is all the guidance I give initially. From there we start to observe. To feel where the weight falls in the soles of the feet, without trying to do anything about it. To get a sense of how we are standing at that time. Am I heavier on one foot? Where on the sole is the weight falling? How is it different from one foot to the other? We listen in and have an experience of the present moment in the feet. In other words, we see what is by slowing down and taking the time to observe.
Then I encourage slow movements, by shifting the body weight around in the feet. Literally trying to get in contact with all the different places we possibly can put the body weight. Feeling every part of the soles of the feet that touch the mat underneath us. This can be done in several ways, making circles with the weight, figure eights or by randomly moving the weight around. It doesn’t really matter how we go about this, the point is that we are now exploring our choices. What is possible beyond the way I just habitually stood?
Then comes the third step, yet another question. How do I want to stand? How do I need to shift the weight to make it as even as it can be between the two feet? To shift the plum line towards the front of the heels? To create balance between my feet and within my skeleton? And this is when we make our choices, how to stand. By then we can move through the rest of the body in a similar manner. Looking at what is, exploring options and making choices for ourselves.
As I was offering this experience in my classes last week I realized what a simple and clear example this is off a very big part of the yoga practice, especially in the posture practice and the breathing practice. And it is one of the major underlying lessons of the practice that we can take with us into our day. How am I living my day, my week? Is there a sense of balance? Of enjoyment, joy and ease? And in whatever capacity it’s missing, what are my options? What choices do I have to change it? And when we can see our choices we sometimes need to muster up the courage to make the changes we need. Which can be easier said than done, but it’s always possible.
None of this can take place if we don’t slow down, and even pause, to reflect on what is. So many of us are running in the wheel like a hamster. We don’t even know how to step off. So there is no way we can listen in and make the changes that we might need. So perhaps you want to pause for just a few minutes in your day, stand on your two feet and ask yourself those questions? How are you standing? What are your options? And what changes do you want to make? Nothing can be done until we take the time to observe and contemplate other ways of being, and different ways of living our life.