Since someone said that my repeated mention of the phrase, “hip opener” was perhaps headed in a lurid direction, I have to decided to shift my question for freedom and creativity to the feet. In all fairness, I didn’t so much decide, it was more that I returned to my regular Wednesday night Yoga class and my teacher told us that if we wanted to get our hips open, we had get our thighs back, but before we could get our thighs back, we had to start at the foundation, in our feet.
This is a favorite theme of Julie’s, and it is perfectly suited to me. Because, a) I have a tendency to stand on the side edges of my feet and feel unbalanced and mess up my hips and b) I heart chaos.
In Anusara, there are three primary principles: Open to Grace, Muscular Energy and Organic Energy. They must be accessed in that order. Now, Organic energy is what you “see” when you look at people exploding and stretching out of these amazing poses. But in order to do them correctly without injuring yourself or missing something, you’ve got to nail the first two. You can Open To Grace by setting up your foundation–spreading the toes, getting the feet parralel, and putting equal weight on the ball and heel. In short: You have to know where you stand.
Then, you can add the muscular energy of firing your quads and pushing them back. Only then do you get the release in the hips that will allow your lower back to release and your upper body to shine upward adding all kind of length. For 5’11” (12″) girl like me, adding length is not actually that exciting a prospect. Maybe my eternal and wholly irrational quest to be shorter is why grounding my feet is proving to be such a…feat.
But the truth is, no challenge can really be tackled intelligently without the proper foundation, because without it, we can’t be truly accountable for our actions. For example, why does my drivers license say 5’10”? Slouching, baby. It works like a charm. Unless you want to do something correctly, conquer a truly difficult challenge or move on to the next level of your life, your work, your whatever.
It’s true that I love the chaotic existence more than most. I arrange hourly panic attacks about the location of my house keys to avoid thinking of about more pressing issues. My desk is a mess. If I move to another table at the office, it becomes a mess within 9 minutes of me sitting there. I am 15 minutes late. Always.
But I also see the chaos trend in others. Namely, they worry that things are going to “happen” to them, or around them that are out of their control. These outside factors will render them powerless, they believe. They only thing to do is complain, and if that doesn’t work: panic.
The problem with this line of thinking is that you start depending on external factors for stability. An you can glean stability from the outside–for a while. But it might lead you to choices you’d rather not make. For example, it turns out that as the economy falters, previously independent, career-minded women are turning to marriage for stability.
“Professor Cary Cooper, a social scientist at Lancaster University told The Daily Telegraph that during economic boom times, people are “me-oriented.” But when they are stripped of hope for wealth and immediate personal achievement, people long for the security of a stable relationship.” [click for full article]
Um….yikes. Right? I mean, love, intimacy and stable relationships are great–or so I hear–but the bottom line is, I don’t think you can make good choices if you’re getting into a relationship to fill an empty, external slot in your life. But, what you can learn by “focusing on your feet” is that those slots may be red herrings, or distractions from real goals that stem from your core intentions. When the task at hand isn’t superficial, you and your feet may be able to to achieve a truly great feat. (Yes, I am deliberately writing cheeseball sentences so that I can repeatedly use feat and feet interchangably. Feel free to tell me I “stink.” )