First, I look at my feet. I witness my feet.  How do I prove to myself that I have feet, and that I can use them to ground me when I need them?  I scan and I sketch the foot with my outside eye so that I internalize this existential query and know that I have feet to ground into the Earth.  In order to bring this experience into the body, ANYA offers five exercises on the floor.

With my back on the mat, my knees bent, the soles of my heels line up with my sit-bones, my arms by my side provide a framework.  I bridge my hips up, inhale. As I exhale, I bridge my hips down.  I ground through the feet, pushing off and lifting up. Exercise 1, bridge.  Simple?

Try doing it without your feet on the ground-- not happening, right?  Ground down to rise up!

Next, exercise 2, back-stroke bridging: same same but different. Now, I reach my right arm over my head, as I push my left foot into the mat, inhale.  And return, push through the left foot, the right arm by my side, exhale. Switch.  Inhale, left arms reaches over my head; I ground down through the right foot. Pressurize the right heel, as I descend, exhale.

The third one, I begin adding layers of attention and intention. Wave bridging, exercise 3. As I inhale, the arms come up and I draw, like an artist, my feet in my imagination.  I give details to my feet, a felt-sense of knowing the feet intimately (this is scanning and sketching) as they push into the mat.  Exhale, I return the arms to my sides.

Exercise 4 is my favorite: descending bridge.  I lift my arms over my head, as my hips rise. I connect my index finger to my thumb in a balance mutra. I quiz myself to stay focused, to ground through my feet, strongly, as I bridge down.  The inhale is quick, bridge up.  And the descent is slow; I pay close attention to the feet, letting the spine unfold under me and merging with the floor. Inhale, quick up.  Exhale, slow down.

Anya can never get enough of push/pull, exercise 5 is another opportunity to play with this module of interest. I pull heels up as high as I can, inhale/pull up. Exhale, I push the heels down, grounding. Its like a mantra. Exhale/pushing. Inhale/pulling.

The key is to keep my mind busy, active in the physical movement.  Its a mental game or fidget to keep my interest, to quiz myself.  Where are my feet? What are they doing? Can I ground through them, now? Can they serve me?  What does it feel like to be grounded?

It is in this type of incremental immersion that  I can feel a subtle but deep change, within.

“I want to be where your bare foot walks, because maybe before you step, you'll look at the ground. I want that blessing” ~Rumi

Written by T'ai Jamar Hanna
Body Banter