mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF body and spirit

A Tiny Bit of Yoga, 2

Hips and feet — the curse of middle age. They take us everywhere and absorb all of life's insults. When we're anxious, our toes scrunch up. And all the bad old emotions hang out between our hips, just where our pleasure center is supposed to be. Where did the fun go?

Today's little exercise introduces you to toe stretches and hip openers. Maybe that's enough for you. You can also coordinate this position with your breathing and your thoughts. If you get into the rhythm of it, you can use the energy at your heart center to embrace and accept the negative emotions that keep you from enjoying life. Accept, then let go...

Take off your shoes and socks! (Sooner or later, we have to accept our feet.)

yogarita(1) From Lesson 1. Sit down with your spine stretched out (buns and feet rooted to the earth; crown of your head reaching for the sky). Breathe.

(2) Inhaling, feel most aware of your rib cage (your heart center). Exhaling, feel most aware of your feet and hips (your roots).

yogarita 2(3) Toe stretch. Rest your right foot on your left knee. Hold it with your left hand. Wiggle your fingers in between your toes — gently, as many as you can.

(4) Hip opener. Rest your right hand on your right knee. As you exhale, press gently to open your right hip. Gently, let the tightness relax.

(5) Meditate. As you breathe, do the mini-meditation below, say your own prayer or let your mind go blank.

(6) Switch to the other side.

Thoughts While Opening My Hip

Inhale (rib cage expands). There is openness in my heart.

Exhale (focus on hip and toes). But, oh, my toes are tight! Oh, my hip is tight! Here are all my negative feelings!

Inhale (rib cage). There is acceptance in my heart.

Exhale (hip and toes). What upsets me? What's freaking me out? What's holding me back? Fear? Anger? Self-pity?

Inhale (ribs). I scoop up the dark feelings. My heart embraces them.

Exhale (press left foot down) . I'm sending my fear, my anger, my self-pity back to the earth. They drain away.

Continue for as long as you need to.