In my yoga practice, I want to do that twisty thing where my legs shoot out magically from my hips, parallel to the ground and two feet off of it. I want to wear the gear and join the club. Which is why I sort of accidentally bypassed the hatha yoga beginner's class. Tonight, that happens to be the class that works with my schedule so I decide to give it a shot.
We start at the foundation. The feet. We start by jamming our fingers in between our toes and wiggling our feet around, curled up and bow legged like babies. It's amazing how difficult it is to get a finger between my toes. Apparently, this is something I'm supposed to be able to do. I trust I'll understand that lesson some other time. In the meantime, after spreading our toes and rolling our joints, we stand, mountain pose. Two feet on the earth. Listening to the instructor talk about big toe mound, little toe mound, inner heel, outer heel, I started to feel like I maybe dropped a little acid.
It could've been the sage she smudged in the room before class with a turkey feather, or the cadence of her sing song hippie voice, but it felt like maybe I was on a little something hallucinogenic. That's how much I loved my feet. The instructor asked us to close our eyes and lean forward and I felt my toes bend to catch my weight. I leaned backward and sideways, feeling pressure and flection conspire in my heels and arches. This is always happening! Where have I been? I felt a ridiculous amount of gratitude toward my cute little feet, having carried me around for thirty years without much complaining at all, bending and flexing, bearing my weight. Sometimes in stilettos! What a gift. By ridiculous amount of gratitude, I think I actually mean an appropriate amount of gratitude. Yes. What a gift!
And it doesn't stop there. Above my feet there are legs, and then there's a torso and arms, a neck and a head. You might have already guessed that part. But stick with me. Shifting from pose to pose stepwise, we land at parivrtta trikonasana, revolved triangle pose. Feet again produce their magic of standing, this time a meter or so apart. Hips shift forward, align. Spine stretches, arm reaches, back bends forward. Each step is a new muscle firing, requiring my focus. I bend and bend and plant my fingertips on a spot on the ground that would've been impossible to reach if I weren't on this magical, mindful acid trip. I stretch my heart open and reach for the sky.
It's a challenging asana, one I haven't tried before. It feels great to find some balance and stability in the pose, and to hold it until the instructor tell us to release. I probably could've gotten into this position a quicker way, without as many steps or the attention to detail. But it's likely my brain would've gotten in the way at some point, telling me stories about being new to this pose or about gravity and the likelihood of a face-plant. But instead, because I was so focused on each step--grounding the four corners of my foot on the mat, scissoring my hips forward, stretching my spine straight, planting my fingertips, shifting my shoulder blade--I didn't have space for the brain business, the distraction from the process, the focus on the result. I love that about yoga! And then poof! I was a revolved triangle! Just what I wanted to be!
Of course, the chatter in my mind on my drive home--the blog posts I constructed and general yoga strategies I tried to nail down--are a testament to the fact that this is a lesson I'm not good at learning. But I'll get there. Right here, right now, I'm working on finding my footing, setting up a strong foundation one day at a time, one paragraph at a time, one practice at a time, one pose at a time. Today, I am deliriously happy to have such capable feet.