Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mythic Yoga: Story in the Body Class 1: BODY MEMOIRS Stories of the Feet

" The real preparation for education is the study of one's self. The training of the teacher is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit. " - Maria Montessori

Resting on the 100-headed snake Ananda Sesha, Vishnu grows a lotus from his navel. Lakshmi rubs his feet, activating his conscious power with her Shakti.  This is an image that roots us within to our own eternal depths and divine nature. It's an inner prima materi that anchors us to the divine through the myth intuitively. In Mythic Yoga practice, the image evokes something within us to examine our sense of connection to our bodies and lower chakras.

Our feet root our bodies to the energy of the earth.  Through the padha bandha in the foot and the muladhara banda at the base of the pelvis we energetically connect our bodies to the earth. Movement, dance and yoga asana, such as tadasana, with the feet connects us to this greater image of the earth and its powers and our Selves. What’s in the way? High heels for one thing ladies! But more so, memories, dreams reflections! The ones we hold on to at least!

The first class of Mythic Yoga: The Story in the Body series started Saturday and we worked with the image of Vishnu and his dream. The 4-week online class features the myths and personal stories in my book Mythic Yoga: Vishnu's Dream - Ancient Hindu Myth and Personal Story. Reflecting on the spoken myth Vishnu’s Dream from the Vishnu Purana, students are inspired to find their own stories via the body and myth. We examined images from our dream life at night and during the day, as well as the dream images from the myth. After asana, a student shared a particularly powerful story from her memory about her foot.

I practice alongside my students, so in my personal Mythic Yoga practice, I have worked with my feet before. The Body Memoir of my Feet video, recalls early trauma to the foot area. Does that memory have any unknown influence in my life? Can I tell something about it and offer it up as art to express myself and shift the relationship and energetics about what happened to me? For our bodies have stories to tell! How do we connect to the earth? Do we or do we not have a feeling of safety? What is the body say? What needs to be expressed? That is the student's challenge.

Additionally we work with dreams and the body.  In my personal practice, I have been having dreams of switching seats with others lately. In one dream, I am on an airplane and let the “retarded” child move to the window seat on the left so that it can be “better connected.”

The dream image reminds me of early woundings in my foot and confidence from recognizing that I had learning disabilities as a child.  I didn’t speak until I was 4 years old, my mother said. My Oma, Dutch grandmother, got me talking. I had severe leg pains growing up. I could never understand math, and remember a particularly humiliating experience in the first grade over math. I had whole gaps in my learning, and remember the first grade class going off somewhere else while I was left behind with the kids with coke-bottle glasses and open mouths.

 I found I excelled at English, however. I was reading Greek myths and books at a 7th grade level by second grade growing up in Boulder, Colorado. Additionally I was a year or more younger than everybody else in class because my mother “didn’t know what to do with me” so fudged my birth certificate with white out and a copy machine to get me admitted to school early. That “strong suit” of reading made its way onto my Persona, my mask of the true Self.

I act out with movement my dream of the retarded child. I love my retarded self. And there is no retarded self. Never was. It’s just who I am. Just as my daughter, who has struggled with reading and learning disabilities her whole life, now in sixth grade reads at a 9th grade and higher level. She just did things differently. As do I! My shadow can come out now! I love Truman Capote’s quote. “I am an alcoholic. I am a drug addict. I am a homosexual. I am a genius.”

Looking at my "retarded" child connects me to all of my self. It is part of my shadow. So may we all love our shadows, find out who they are, offer them a cup of tea, make friends with them, tell stories about them and offer them up as art in honor of life. May we befriend and move with all parts of ourselves to get connected in a better seat of life! Tell Your Story in the Body!

Read more Mythic Yoga work and connect with others in League of Yogic Storytellers! Join today!

Join the Mythic Yoga: The Story in the Body Online class with Sydney Solis at the Mythic Yoga Studio on

Jung and Yoga: The Psyche-Body Connection by Judith Harris 
The Inner Journey: Views from the Hindu Tradition, Edited by Margaret H. Case PARABOLA anthology Series

 Know Thy Self with Mythic Yoga then teach yoga and tell stories to little kids with Storytime Yoga!