Building your Foundation
If you are new to yoga or even a seasoned practioner, it is essential to visit and revisit your foundation or “roots” in asana. Your foundation is crucial to the success of your pose.
You may have heard the common expression “root to rise” in your yoga classes. This is quite a fundamental instruction in creating poses with a solid base. The height of the rising is intrinsically connected to the depth of the rooting. If you visualize a truly magnificent tree, the key to its strong rising structure lies in its deep solid roots. Without its roots, it cannot arise to such majesty. Let’s use the analogy of the tree to lay out our foundation.
How do you actually root to rise? In order to root to rise, our intention should firstly be to bring our awareness and attention to our body parts which root to the earth. How you plant your feet, knees, buttocks, forearms, hands, fingertips will be key. The ability to rise depends on your rooting.
Learning how to plant
Imagine you have roots growing out from the bottom of your feet. In tadasana (mountain pose), press your feet down firmly applying equal pressure on heel, ball of foot, toes, inner and outer edges of feet (this is your rooting). This grounding energy should activate the muscles above- if you pay close attention, you may feel it surging up the body from the feet to legs to core through the crown of your head. On an inhale, imagine sucking up earth energy through your “feet roots” and that energy rising up through your body. Activate this muscular energy, which travels up the joints, offers grounding, stability; On an exhale, imagine the energy going back down from the crown of your head towards the feet but sense a rising sensation in your upper body: as the energy descends the spine grows taller. Activate this organic energy, which will give you freedom to open up, grow tall and rise.
Apply these same basic principles whether it be on you hands, forearms, whatever. Grow your roots, sink the roots and rise up victorious.
Next blog: how to fine tune once you have created that solid base.