Start with Softness

“It is only by grounding our awareness in the living sensation of our bodies that the “I Am,” our real presence, can awaken.”   – George Gurdjieff

I propose you start with your toes.  Notice your weight-bearing tendencies today… Can you identify some of these typical issues:  Do you keep all your weight out by the pinky toe or heavy through the inner front tip of the big toe? Do you scrunch the middle toes up against the ground/your shoes?  Do you often find yourself standing with your feet splayed out to the sides with your toes turned out – and how does that effect the tension in your toes?

Tension indicates weakness, poor coordination, and imbalance in the system.

When you’re ready for a positive change in the alignment and therefore health of your body, start here: relax your toes so that they all feel soft against the floor/your shoe. (Extra credit if you can do so with your feet parallel to each other as you stand – more on this in future blogs!)

Hmmm… Soften your toes. Sounds simple, right? Try it and see if you can maintain that relaxation (in sitting OR standing) till the end of reading this blog. If you are like most people, your “ground reaction” will reflexively be one of imbalanced, grasping struggle at first, (it certainly has been for me), but let me assure you it’s normal to cling and hold tension until we find our center.

Indeed, softening your toes evenly will help center the weight of your shin over the arch of your foot, (specifically the cuneiform bones), and this is extremely valuable for the strength and integrity of your arch, the mobility of the foot and ankle joints, and the muscular coordination of your legs and lower back. I dare say: this can even help to tone the pelvic floor muscles!

Use the spread of your toes to bear weight more efficiently.

How so? It’s the privilege of selective neural “awakening…” by releasing our unnecessary holding patterns we create space in our system for the most efficacious action potentials to emerge.

Well?… have your toes gone back to fighting the floor?… not to worry! When you’re ready, start over (again and again) with softness – this head to toe overhaul will pay off soon. For now, feel for the ease and enjoy.

 

Alignment as Invitation

“Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”  – Martha Graham

As both a yogi and physical therapist, I teach people how to hold space within themselves. I offer guidelines for where to place one’s feet, back, or shoulders and ultimately, methods for movement and living that might alleviate suffering and pain.

Such a process requires a calibration of the physical body and thus the nervous system. And for all of us, such a shift requires attention and diligent practice!

What does it take for a person to attend to their posture when they are sitting at the computer, doing the dishes, lifting the laundry basket…?   Vision, faith, desire… an intention to feel better in this body and a belief that if we create the physical container for better health, it arrives.

At first, we forget! We slump over the keyboard and fall into old holding patterns in the blink of an eye. But for the diligent student, a desire for change reengages their conscious mind within their body… and as they remember (again and again and again), they practice and invite the outcome they seek.

If you can work with this cycle long enough, you will realize your intentions are absolutely creating your experiences…. and that soon the fluctuations and forgetfulness start to subside. This is the reward we seek: increased strength, endurance, and energy;  less distracting thoughts and pain; the healthiest, most vibrant possible state of being.

It is my intention to share my knowledge of alignment with my clients, students, and readers. This blog is my means of inviting you to practice with me!