“Feet,” Sarah said, “I think feet are the most beautiful part of the body.”
I gaped at her. Feet? Dirty stinky feet? My 7 year old mind could not grasp this as I stared bewildered at my best friend Bissy’s older sister.
Sarah was 12, and already kind of quirky and intelligent in a cool sort of way.
“Think about it,” Sarah continued, “Feet are what carry you through your whole life. That’s so beautiful.”
How she was so brilliant and wise at 12, I have no idea. But I never forgot this.
Today as I was teaching poses for feet in my yoga class, I brought up Sarah’s words.
Feet support the weight of our bodies, and they are meant to carry us our whole life.
This got me thinking about we use to support us in life. What rituals and practices can we rely on that support us? Not only when things are good, but when solid ground crumbles away at our feet. What can we stand on when we’re on constantly shaky ground?
Our daily practices become the steadiness in an unsteady, and unpredictable world. They become the refuge that provides stillness and comfort when the walls we thought would always be standing fall to pieces and the earth becomes like quicksand beneath us.
Through repetition and routine, these practices and rituals become a constant. They become stability in an unstable world.
This is where the benefit of daily practice comes in. Not to achieve a goal or a particular state, but to have a place to go that you can rely on. Both through the consistency and stability of daily practice and the place you access within yourself that is centered and steady even when nothing else around you is not.
For most of my life, since I was 12 I have ran on and off. As an adult, it has become daily habit. For me, it’s no longer a choice it’s just what I do. Somehow every morning, pouring rain or glorious sunshine, I’ve laced up my running shoes and headed out the door. Running has become a place I go to get time for myself, boost my mood, clear my head, and be “nicer” to my family.
I’ve practiced yoga and meditation for almost 20 years they have shown me the refuge within myself. They’ve opened the door to the infinite inside that is bigger than whatever is happening around me. It’s cultivated a steadiness within and taught me to witness the magic, wonder and beauty around me even in the darkest places.
There’s a reason why these are called practices. You don’t go the gym to get to hit a goal and then expect the results to stick without continuing to exercise. Our supportive practices need to be practiced regularly to maintain their strength. Just like going to the gym is not a one off to see results, neither are any of the other practices that make your life better, more meaningful, or steadier.
These practices don’t need to take long to be effective, they just need to be done with regularity.
If you don’t already have a supportive daily practice, here’s a list of suggestions you might like to try that are quick, simple, and science backed:
- Belly breathing or other breathing techniques
- Gratitude Practices
- Walking in Nature
- Listening to Music Mindfully
This is a very short list that also has many MANY variations to do each one to provide lots of options. The most important thing is that it calms, steadies, and feels good so that you can commit to it daily.
With practice these rituals will become the supports that allow you to stand tall, strong, and centered no matter what.
Now, tell me in the comments below what practices you use to stay steady, and if there’s any in the list above that you’re curious about trying out.