Roots, Support and Stability
Last month we pondered on beginnings and forming foundations, so it feels fitting that we move on this month to really explore that idea of roots.
Where are your roots? What does that mean when I ask that question?
Do you think of where you came from, where you were born?
Where you call your home now, where your family is?
What constitutes roots to you?
Do you think of nature and the roots of the trees or plants?
When we see a tree standing tall, blowing in a strong wind, its top heavy with leaves and branches, do we perhaps overlook what lies beneath.
Deep down underneath the trunk, that intricate root structure that funnels into the earth and creates the foundations for that tree to grow.
That is the trees support system, it’s literal roots.
When I talked about new beginnings last month, we invited the thoughts to form into aspirations and dreams. Maybe something you’re working towards. Maybe a change you wish to happen in your life.
For that change to happen we must start to put down our roots.
Sometimes our roots can be about our support structure and our belief system.
Am I supported? Do I believe in myself?
Often, we feel afraid to ask others for help or we don’t know where to look.
Perhaps our inner critic or that inner doubt, often referred to as the imposter syndrome, is sliding in and taking over.
What is it you are working toward?
What is your dream and how can yoga help you?
When we are on the mat, we practice working with foundations, just like the tree roots.
We root our feet to the ground. We feel the support of the earth and we’re nourished by the energy it feeds back to us.
Perhaps when we are in an inversion, we feel the rooting of the hands or the arms, but we are still feeling that support and that transfer of energy.
We believe we can stand on two feet in mountain pose and so we do.
We believe we can stand on our hands and our feet in downward facing dog and so we do.
We believe the earth will stay solid beneath us as we lie on our backs in savasana, and so it does and so we do.
We learn to believe in our surroundings and our own strength.
We learn to trust the structure of the earth, gravity, and nature.
And so too we learn to believe in and trust ourselves.
That strong ambition to start a new career, to study a new subject, travel to that country you’ve always wanted to see, buy that new car, meet new people and forge new connections.
All the stuff we can do, we learn the mirrors for on the mat.
And so, for October as the leaves begin the downward journey to the earth and before we start to truly hunker down and inward for the winter, let’s do a health check on our roots, on those support systems that we all have.
I invite you every day this month, once a day, to focus on your roots.
Be that the feel of your feet on the ground, where are your toes, is the weight evenly distributed, how do they feel?
Maybe it’s your sitting bones on the seat, is it a hard or soft surface, is one hip higher, do you feel the connection to the seat?
Or perhaps it’s the length of your back as you lie in bed in each night, can you feel the muscles as they soften around the bones?
It might be you think of all the other roots that hold you up and support you.
For example, your house, your loved ones, your pets, your work.
Once a day find just one thing you call a root and spend a couple of moments reflecting on how it supports you and all it does for you and then Thank it for being your root.
If you do this every day in October, you’ll have found 31 roots (and yes, each toe can count as a different one if you like) and you’ll have practiced your daily gratitude too.
What if as you read this you feel that your head is so foggy you simply can’t focus on anything right now? You’re so swamped you’re not even aware you have roots?
How can your dreams and ambitions come true when you can’t think clearly?
It happens to us all.
If this sounds familiar, then I invite you to move your body.
The invitation is always there to come and join us on the mat on one of our weekly meet ups.
The invitation is also there to move the body in whatever form or shape takes your fancy.
It could be dancing to your favourite song, walking in nature, jumping on the bike, having a sweaty workout at the gym, or maybe hiking up a big hill and taking a huge gulp of fresh air at the top before running down, arms spread, shouting “I can do this!”.
Whatever that movement looks like to you, you’ve got this.
Moving the body helps move the mind from its feeling of being stuck, to its sense of ease and release.
And whilst you’re jumping, running, skipping, dancing, cycling, or moving on your mat see if you can focus on any of the roots involved in that activity and feel that support system sustain you and help you grow from within.