There is a Chinese proverb that says that:
The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.
This is the same with a yoga practice. Over time and with intelligent stretching practices, the body will open and become more flexible. With practice, beginning yoga students advance in their alignment and ability to do a greater variety of poses. It is truly beautiful to see an experienced yogi express the spirit of a pose with a deep and profound expression of grace. Advanced students create a flowing meditation through soft and easy breath and the control of balance and energy through bandha work and reflection on the philosophy and science of yoga.
While these are all beautiful reflections on the potential of yoga to create balance, ease and strength and grace, I see the miracle in the beginners. It starts with the honesty of effort and the realisation when new students see that even by drawing their awareness to the breath, without changing anything at all, everything changes. The miracle is not the perfect pose after years of training, the miracle is that moment that new students have when they realise that it is just being present in this moment that has the power to change the course of a life. The miracle is not a one-armed handstand, it is standing in tadasana–mountain pose—with weight balanced across the feet and the head, heart and gut one on top of the other.
The Miracle of Standing on Earth Practice:
Take your shoes and socks off and allow your feet to breathe and soften into the floor beneath you. Wiggle and spread your toes and feel the pressure of your feet on the earth and the earth on your feet. Evaluate the distribution of your body weight accross your feet and see if you can move in a way that allows you to equally balance the weight of your body across the pinky toe, big toe and heel of the feet. Press your inner ankles towards your outer ankles and roll your thigh bones back as you tuck your sitting bones underneath you. Feel the lift of the navel and heart as you relax your shoulders down and away from your earlobes. Stretch the crown of your head towards the sky and slightly bring your chin towards your heart as you relax your forehead, neck and jaw.
Breathe here in this place of where you stand. Notice sensation in your feet, legs, belly, lower back, lungs, heart center, shoulders, arms and hands. How do the bones of your face, neck and jaw feel? There are no right or wrong answers. It’s just what you feel right now. Each and every time you do this exercise you will feel different. It’s the miracle of standing on earth.
Director, Yoga Matrika
A beautiful yoga studio community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.