Monday, January 18, 2010


The foundation comes first. A strong and well-laid foundation is the best investment you can make when building a house. A foundation needs to be level, the cement needs to be dried properly and there must be good drainage. A house built on a solid foundation can withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and other tests of nature. But if the foundation is poorly built that same house could easily fall. The goal of the foundation is to keep the house from shifting and moving.

In nature, roots are the foundations of the tiniest plants and the tallest trees. They bring nourishment to all parts of the plant promoting growth and stability. The roots keep the tree steady, but unlike the foundations of the house, they allow movement in the branches and even the trunk. If trees did not move with the wind, they would break and fall. Roots are stable but also very adaptable even growing around rocks to establish support for the tree.

In yoga we have many different foundations, all of which are equally important. Any part of our body that touches the ground is a foundation - our feet, hands, knees, sitbones, hips, shoulders and back of our head. Each part is important individually but our core brings all these parts together. So the energy from our feet, hands, etc. draws into the core and then extends back out from the core in a symbiotic relationship.

The relationships of our feet to our hips, our hips to our shoulders, and our shoulders to our head are key to the integrity of the pose. The evenness and rooting of our foundation allows us to relax our necks, face, mind, and attitude when we practice. Think of rooting as an organic extension of energy - its power extends beyond our material body. As living creatures, we want our foundation to support movement with grace and ease.

Not only is the foundation a physical support, it is also the underlying principle or idea upon which something is developed. In yoga we set an intention at the beginning of our practice to inspire and support the practice. The breath is foundational as well. Everything begins with the breath. It is our ultimate foundation.

Although the foundation is not always visible, it is vital to survival. Attention to the foundation is the key to stability, strength and freedom. It is what will support us in good times and bad times. Build a strong foundation, align with a higher power, and the magnitude of what you can support may surprise you.

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