I went to the All Wales Gathering of the British Wheel of Yoga today at Trefeglwys. Along with the business meetings (I am now the County Rep for Powys, if you need to get in touch in my area), we had a wonderful day of yoga with Viktor van der Kleij. Every new experience with a different yoga teacher sends you away with at least one gift. For me, from Viktor, I came away with some reinforcement about working with the feet, and a new insight into meditation.
I have done a workshop with Swami Saradananda about the feet and the engagement of Pada Bandha (basically, engaging all three arches of the feet in Tadasana and all the standing postures). So it was interesting for me to learn from Viktor the importance of placing the feet, exploring the footprint and working with the toes, the arches and the balls of the feet. Our feet are our foundation after all, but they are also our vital connection to the rest of creation when we are standing. And it was this feeling of being connected that Viktor asked us to explore.
Don’t work on auto-pilot! Don’t fall into a pattern of behaviour. When you do a posture you are familiar with – have you paid attention to the placement of your feet? Do you feel your contact with the earth, with all living things ? This is the challenge for those of us who have done yoga for a long time – can you approach each new practice with a beginner’s mind?
As for meditation, Viktor said that all the thoughts that get in the way should be welcomed as possibilities – as potential. This was hard for me to grasp, so I asked him – supposing I am trying to meditate but my shopping list and visit to the supermarket get in the way? Viktor said – then meditate on your shopping list! That won’t take long! Or go to the supermarket with your shopping list and turn that shopping trip into your meditation. Shop mindfully.
I thought this was wonderful and such a simple, hopeful piece of truth. When we try to quieten our minds, sometimes they won’t be quiet. But following Viktor’s advice, we can embrace that annoying thought that won’t go away, and melt it into something else – and find the potential and enjoy it.
I have to think about this for a few days now ….. but I think that the idea of thoughts as potential might be a very great gift indeed.