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The Game is a-foot…

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Today, practice was one of those interesting affairs. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m exploring the function etc of muladhara chakra, the root chakra.

The root chakra, for those of you who just asked “And what the hell is that?”, is an energy centre of the body, located at the base of the spine and it’s energies are related to issues of physical self-preservation, survival, security. When it’s working from a good space, we feel grounded and connected, to earth, to ourselves, and ultimately to others. As noted yesterday, I’m feeling a little ungrounded as of late. I think 9 months of yoga teacher’s training is supposed to ‘unground’ you and leave you feeling a little shaken, if not stirred.

So, in a spirit of exploration, I’m in the process of constructing a “Root Chakra” session. I’m possibly world’s clumsiest session constructor EVER, and I have figured out the worse thing I can do is sit down and try to put something on paper. When I do that, I get really attached to the little stick figures and can’t seem to let go of them, even when I know it’s all wrong. So, I’ve started with a new tactic called “Get your feet on the mat”.

Yesterday, I did a bit of reading and came up with a list of postures that I thought had first chakra potential. Mostly, standing postures. I decided that, in keeping with the notion of ‘balanced and grounded’, I’d stay clear of the asymmetrical postures, which incidentally, are my personal favourites, and concentrate on the symmetrical ones.

I did something a little different for me today. Instead of using Samasthiti (Equal Standing Posture) as a basic throwaway posture, I really spent some time in it. I started with the posture in the more relaxed manner of feet hip width apart, but moved to the “classic” version of feet together, knees together and I just observed myself in motion — the ripples of movement through the muscles of the feet as I tried to find balance. The reluctance of my body to allow the arches of the foot to soften into the floor. My habitual rolling of the feet outwards and walking on the outsides of the foot — classic excessive supination.

It was an exercise of observance. How my pelvis tips forward when I straighten my knees. How the tipping of the pelvis changes the curve of my lumbar spine and causes it to take on muscle tension.

I stood there for at least 5 minutes, just observing the subtle shifts inside my body, all the while visualizing energy streaming into my feet and legs. My intention was to just leave this as the practice but as I continued in this vein, I felt my lumbar spine tightening up and my ankles were tingly in a unpleasant manner as the blood pooled in my feet.

I just listened to my body to clues to the next needed asana. Parsarita Padottanasana, the wide legged forward fold was my next choice. I took it in ardha first (half — bent to torso parallel to the floor) and let my back muscles release for 4 or 5 breaths before continuing down to my full approximation of it.

I worked with a couple of other postures but they quickly go the heave for being “not right”. I ended with Janu Shirshasana (Head to Knee posture) with Catuspadapitham (Crab or Table) to release the neck and shoulders.

This session needs to be filled out and might even turn into two separate sessions before I’m done, but it’s a noble first foray.

Thanks for reading and Namaste,



About Kate MacKay

I'm a certified Viniyoga teacher, in Fredericton, NB. I was a 9-1-1 operator and emergency services dispatcher for 22 years. Surprisingly, the two worked well together, or as I liked to put it, from the sublime to the ridiculous -- all in a day's work. I'm currently off work as a result of a stress-induced cardiac condition that's thrown a few crimps in my lifestyle. I'm not actively teaching yoga in the classroom right now and probably won't for several more months. That said, this blog is one of the forms of practice I can do and I thank you for joining me in this exploration of all things yoga.

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