When I first began practicing yoga, it was the part I glossed over, the part I all but skipped. The planting of the feet, the spreading of the toes, the feeling of rootedness from little over to big toe, the inner and outer heel– I had no patience for such considerations. I was ready to hurry on the the forward fold, the question of whether my hamstrings would release enough for my fingertips to graze the floor, how much I’d have to soften my knees to let my spine spill forward. Coming back up, it was all about the arms reaching and palms meeting, the breath indrawn. It was always the next pose, the next breath, the one after that.
After a year on the mat, most days, the firm placing of the feet, the peeling up to situate with more strength and ease has become a favorite moment of my practice. Off the mat, when I need to remind myself of where I am,, when I need to stand firmly present in the moment I’m in, barefoot or shod, indoors or out, I pause, gently lift then set my feet down on the ground where I find myself. I take a deep breath.
Whether it is a moment from which I’d rather lift myself, or in which I want to bow deeply in release and surrender, pressing down to find my footing helps me be present to it.