This episode is part of a course.
Mindful Movement Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Day 3: Foundation

30 min - Practice


In Day 3 we bring our attention to the feet as the foundation of our bodies and our practice. We explore how the feet provide grounding and centering, being mindful of weight shifts in standing and balancing poses as well as walking mediation mudra. As we settle into meditation, you may find that the feet or hands are a neutral place in which to anchor your mind.

For off the mat practice in Day 3, Margi asks us to again notice our breath 3 times throughout the day, hold our intention for this course, and in addition notice the feet and how they meet the ground as we walk through the world.

What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)

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Chapter 1

Hello and welcome back. Day three. Super happy that you're joining me again. And I'm curious how it's going. Have you noticed any changes? Anything has shifted? How's the homework or the off-the-mat practice going? Did you write down your intention? Are you finding your breath when life gets a little sticky? The Buddha says we are what we think. Speak from a pure place and happiness will follow you unshakable like your shadow. It's the idea of intention. Intend for happiness and it will manifest. So keep sprinkling intention. I'll remind you to do that. Today we're going to build a little bit in our practice of what we've been doing and have a focus on foundation and feet and grounding which is very important to me. It's up there with the breath as far as mental health and grounding in tricky situations. So let's take a moment and listen to the sound of the bell together. And then in your seat, notice what's touching the ground. Which part of your foot feet are touching the ground? What part of your shins? What part of your pelvis? And imagine that there are long roots dropping from whatever is touching down all the way down through your yoga mat. If you're on a mat through your floor, down, down, down into the ground, into the earth. So feeling of them continuing to drop all the way down to the hot center of the earth. And from those roots, imagine a rebound that comes up through the base of the pelvis, through the center of the chest, through the center of the throat, center of the brain and up through the crown of the head. Deepen your breath. Feeling the breath expand into the clarity of your body on the inhalation and then a softening, a rooting, continuing to ground with your exhalation.

Just another half minute here, feeling the inhalation create space and the exhalation invites softness. Feel your eyelids and let them just slide up over your eyes. I think your birds close their eyes from the bottom to the top. We close our eyes from the top to the bottom. I find that interesting. Get your left foot and just squeeze your foot a bit. Oftentimes we start practice, yoga practice, we do a lot on the feet and we want to have the feet alert and alive and aware. So just massaging to the feet, feel like you could spread out the 26 bones of your feet, of your foot opening, making the foot wider. The shin has two bones and the thigh has one bone, so the feet are quite complex things. And then if you could just look up here, the ball of the big toe is here. You can keep massaging your own foot. And the ball of the little toe is here. So ball of big toe, ball of little toe. These are some points I'm going to be referencing. And then the center of the heel. And then here is the inner arch of the foot, which I'm also going to invite you to feel and to lift. Let's get the other foot out, give it a good squeeze, greet it for the day, and spread the bones. And as you're massaging into your foot, just notice the ball of the big toe and the ball of the little toe. You might see there's some callus on one or the other, perhaps. And the center of the heel. And give a little rub to each toe. Okay, we try not to get distracted by things when we practice, such as, oh, I need to cut my toenails. You can put a pin in that and remember for later, try to stay on your mat in the practice. Okay, so now that we've greeted the feet, we are going to move on to hands and knees and do some cat and cow. Which we've done before, but today we're going to add moving the feet in cat and cow. So you can put a blanket underneath your knees, nicely folded, hands underneath the shoulders, feel your neutral spine to begin with. And then as you inhale, tuck your toes under and lift your head and your tail up. And then as you exhale, point through the feet, round your spine, dropping head and tail down. Inhale, the toes tuck under, the head and tail lifts. And as you exhale, rounding. Let's do this one more time and feel all the parts here that are coming into harmony to create the hands. And then come into a neutral spine with the toes tucked under. Bring your knees and your feet to touch. And then walk your hands back. And this one's pretty intense for not everybody, but most people. So just can go kind of easy, walking the weight of the pelvis down onto the heels. Maybe you can come up to vertical, but if that's too much, you could stay forward. You could also slide a block or a prop underneath the knees, which takes some of the demand off of the feet. So this is an interesting thing that the fascia at the soles of the feet that we're stretching right now, that's what you feel. It connects. This connective tissue connects all the way up the back of your body, all the way up the back of your neck and ends about at your eyebrow line. It's one of my favorite facts about the body, this sheet of connective tissue. So although we mainly feel this probably in the feet, there's a whole big opening that's happening. We won't stay too much longer. Interlace your fingers, press your palms forward, and then reach your arms up. And as your arms reach up, feel the center of your heels reaching straight back. And this would be a good moment to remember to breathe, feeling the breath, feeling the sensation, whether it's pleasant or unpleasant, just being with the sensation. And then as you exhale, release your hands, lean forward. We'll separate the feet and hang over the legs, giving the feet a little bit of a break here from that stretch. And while you're here, you can have your knees bent, of course, to reach your toes. See if you can use your fingers to spread your toes apart, maybe even so much that you can see the color of your mat in between your toes. And then root into the ball, the big toes, the ball, the little toes, and the center of the heels as you lift up through your arches. It's a lot. It's a lot.

And it brings our attention in, and that's what we're doing here. We'll hold elbows, drop the head, and take a few breaths here. From here, we'll release the arms. And see if you can keep a feeling of anchoring down through those six points of the feet, ball, the big toe, ball, little toe, center of the heels as we roll all the way up to stand in mountain pose, tadasana. Just do a couple of shoulder circles. And then release your hands down. We'll do our half sun salutations, focusing on how the weight shifts in the feet as we move through these actions, which now probably pretty familiar to you, day three. Inhale, we reach up. Attention down in the feet as you exhale and fold forward. Notice how the feet shift as you lengthen to your extended spine. And as you exhale, fold back over your legs. The feet root, the spine lifts, the palms press at the top. And as you exhale, hands to the heart center and down. This time, see if you can keep your feet a little more rooted as they are now. So inhale, lift up. Maybe a little less shifting. Try to keep rooting. Exhale, fold. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold. Inhale, root to rise. Exhale, hands together in front of the heart. Feeling the ball, the big toe and the ball, the little toe rooting down. Rise to the balls of your feet. Try to be pretty steady as the heels go up. And then bring your heels down and bend your knees into Utkatasana, powerful pose. It's like sitting in a strange chair. And then stand up, bring your hands together. Again, rise to the balls of the feet. It's fine to wobble, but be as steady as you can by engaging the muscles of the foot and ankle. Bend the knees, sit back, chair pose. And then stand up, hands to the heart. With breath, inhale, rising. Crown of the head rises as the center of the heels rise. Exhale, heels down. Inhale, Utkatasana. Exhale, Tadasana. Make a gentle fist with your left hand, put it at your low belly, and let your right hand wrap over the left hand. I'm going to call this walking meditation mudra. Bring your attention to the soles of the feet, and we'll take a little walk to the front of the mat, noticing how the feet meet the mat. When you get to the top, release your arms to the sides. So we're going to do a couple little sun salutations here with walking meditation. You might want to have your blocks. If folding forward, if it's a little bit of a struggle to reach the ground folding forward, please put your blocks on either side of your feet. Mountain pose. Before we go anywhere, I notice how your heels feel. What's your tendency? Is the tendency to roll out on the heel or in on the heel? See if you can get the center of the heel to go down. Same with the balls of the feet. Is there more weight on the ball or a big toe or a little toe? Find an even quality of descent through those four points. Ball, little toe, ball, a big toe, ball, a big toe, ball, a little toe, left and right foot.

And then rooting down again, inhale, reach up. As you exhale, fold forward. Put your hands onto your blocks or the fingertips onto the floor. And then take your head forward as you step your right foot back to a lunge. In the lunge, can you still have the clarity of the left foot? Ball, the left big toe, ball, left little toe, center of the heel roots down. And then lift your left arch, pull the left thigh back, and make your right leg very strong. The right heel is off the ground, but can you have some balance between the right big toe and little toe? Press into the blocks, lift your hips, pull back into downward facing dog. From here, put your hands onto the mat, walk your hands back to your feet. Breathe in, lengthen your spine. Breathe out, feeling your roots. Inhale, come up to stand. Exhale, hands to walking meditation mudra, one hand gentle fist, the other hand wraps. And we'll walk again to the front of the mat. And tadasana. Inhale, lengthen up. Exhale fold, feeling the hands become part of the foundation. Left foot steps back to a lunge, and we'll pause here. Get your attention into your right foot. Toes long, balanced. Arch lifts, and the right thigh pulls back as the left thigh lifts up. And then from the clarity of the legs, feel the spine long and free. And then lift your pelvis, step back, downward facing dog. This time let's come forward into plank position. Feel the balls of the feet rooting, the hands rooting. And then downward facing dog. Hands walk back on the mat. Inhale, lengthen the spine. Exhale, fold. Inhale, come all the way up to stand, pressing the palms. Exhale, hands, heart center. Walking meditation mudra, we're just going to walk to the center of the mat. A short walk. And then turn to face the side. Vrkshasana, the tree pose. So good place to think about roots right there in the tree pose. We'll bend the right knee. And again, like we did, you can put your heel to the inner ankle or you can pull your foot anywhere up your leg. And then we'll join the hands together in prayer. As the left foot roots down, the ball, the right big toe, the one on the leg, little toe and heel press into the left leg. From here we'll reach the arms up overhead. And mountain pose. Take a breath in. Exhale, establish the clarity of your right foot. Make your right leg strong, the trunk of the tree, and come into your tree pose. So the right foot anchors into the ground, the left foot anchors into the leg. All points of the foot stays the same. From the joining of the hands and the foot into the leg, reach your arms up. Feel the spine long, the crown of the head floating up. It's normal to feel some breeze, some wind, some movement, some play in the tree pose. And then release, mountain pose. We'll step back to the front of the mat. Do one more sun salutation. Inhale, reach up.

Exhale, fold forward. We'll step the right foot back to a lunge. And then you can lower your right knee. And if you'd like to add your blanket, feel free to get your blanket so that you have some softness underneath that knee. We'll point the back toes. Feel the toes extending straight back. Hook the thumbs and reach up. And then as you exhale, bring your hands down. Move the blocks to the side. Root your hands. Step back into downward dog. Let the inhalation bring you to plank. Exhale, lower either with knees first to the floor or straight from plank. And then reach every toe straight back. Feel your chest lift. We're doing a little cobra. Feel the belly as part of the foundation, the pubic bone as part of the foundation. And then come up to hands and knees and press back downward dog. From here, walk the hands right back to the feet. Bend the knees. Roll up this time. And then right over your blanket, walking meditation to the front of the mat. Inhale, reach up. Exhale, fold forward. Inhale, awareness in the feet as you step back. Back knee lowers. Point the back toes. Hook your thumbs. Opening into a back bend with the inhalation. As you exhale, come down. Tuck your toes. Pull back. Downward facing dog. Inhale plank. Exhale, lower. Inhale, toes back. Chest lifts. Reach back a lot through, especially the big toe. And then press back into downward facing dog. Two steady breaths here. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Walk your hands back to your feet. Bend your knees. Roll up to stand. So from here, we will put the props over to the side. And have the blocks. We're going to use the blocks again shortly. So just have them nearby. And then come once again with awareness in the feet to the front of the mat. And reach your arms up. Exhale, fold forward. Let's do a backwards walk. Feeling the feet. Feeling the hands. Feeling foundation of backwards walk into downward facing dog. Through downward dog, keep walking backwards.

Shoulders come forward. Plank position. And from here, we'll lower down. And flip over onto your back, please. And once you get there, just hug your knees into your chest and give yourself a little pause after the exciting sun salutations. Just one more little bit of love for the feet. We'll bring them up and twirl them around. Thank them for holding you up and walking you through this crazy world. And then we'll bring the feet down. We're going to end with a little relaxation. Souls, the feet are going to come to touch. Put your blocks or you could also put blankets underneath your knees and let your arms open to the sides. Be aware that you've lined up your feet very clearly. And then give the weight of your body down to your mat, to the ground, to the blocks. And take a few steady breaths here. So if you have a fair amount of time, you're welcome to pause the video and stay longer. Otherwise, we'll use the hands to bring the knees together. And then roll over to one side. And use your hands pressing into the ground to bring you up to sit. And then take your time to find a seat that will work for your seated meditation. I'll see you there. Welcome to day three of our meditation. I'm sitting here in hero's

Chapter 2

pose. I'm sitting on one block. I showed in the seat tutorial sitting on two blocks. Of course, you could sit in a chair and cross-legged whatever is most comfortable for you. I had an experience recently of being on a meditation retreat and I had a one-on-one with the teacher. In my whole 20 years of being immersed in this practice, I've thought when I meditate, I have to feel my breath. It has to be about the breath. The breath has to be the thing that brings me back. And the teacher asked me, how is it going? How's your practice going?

And I said, it's okay, but I get kind of tripped up on my breath. And sometimes it feels caught in my throat or I think about some breathing exercise or I try to deepen it. It's hard for me to rest my attention on my breath even though that's what I thought I should be doing for all these years. And she said, that is not the right anchor for you if that triggers your mind. Use a different anchor. Feel your hands rooting or feel your shins or feel your body just sitting, but you don't need to feel your breath. And it was one of the many, many times in my life I've learned and experienced that these practices are not one-size-fits-all. There's a really big myriad of ways to practice. So I want you to find and pick. It's good to have something to focus on that you can come back to. So pick one thing so it's not going back and forth between breath and hands, but pick what works for you. And we will begin our seated meditation. We start by feeling body. And as in the active practice, we feel the roots, the feet, how they're touching down, the knees, the shins, the pelvis. See if feeling your roots has some anchoring quality to being here. And then the crown of the head floating up like a hot air balloon. A sense of being upright, vertical, open, and relaxed. And then decide for yourself what would be the best way to keep anchored here, whether it is the breath. For many people, that works very well to observe the breath. Another one could be your hands, how they feel resting. Another one could be just the feeling of your whole body sitting right here. Whichever you've picked, commit to it and rest your mind there. And Whether you feel busy in your mind or quiet in your mind, whether you feel lots of happiness and joy or sorrow and grief, whatever's going on for you, we just open to it in the midst of our lives, opening big, big arms to whatever arises. Noticing thoughts, not as a problem, but just what's happening and then once you notice your thoughts, as I said yesterday, like bubbles, they can pop and come back to the feeling of being here, mind resting in the anchor that you chose.

Relax. For the last moment of this meditation, just recall your intention and pour it into your present experience. Take a deeper breath, and we'll join the palms. Thank you for meditating with me. Namaste.

Chapter 3

So off the mat today. First of all, remember it's cumulative, so continue to find breath throughout your day. Continue to sprinkle your intention, hopefully you wrote it down and it's somewhere reminding you. You could write it in a few different places. And then, since our practice today in the asana practice or the movement practice was about feet and foundation, I'd like for you to be extra aware of your feet and how you walk through the world.

So for at least, I don't know how far you walk, but if you walk for a block or a half block, some portion of the day, pay attention to how your feet meet the ground. You can also look at your shoes and see where they're worn out to give you some indication, the soles of the shoes, as to how you walk. And then just feel, the feet are another thing, when I start to feel anxious, if I drop my attention to my feet, the feet kind of are neutral, emotion lives, anxiety lives, somewhere in here. When I can get my mind into my feet, it can have a very anchoring effect on my nervous system. So pay attention to your feet, and I'll see you tomorrow for day four.

I really appreciate you joining me. Leave a comment, I'd love to know how you're doing or if you have any questions. Thank you.


M Angela C
3 people like this.
Simply loving this course Margi.  Spending the time to practice  on foundations and principles with your clear instruction, wisdom and calming voice is truly a gift. I have been diligent with the homework as well! Thank you for sharing this series of practices - feeling very grounded. 🙏 
Jenny S
2 people like this.
I agree wholeheartedly with you M Angela!  Also, today revealed another great pro-tip from Margi: using a block under the knees in what I “affectionately “ call ‘toe-breaker’ pose - game changer! 🙌
Susan S
1 person likes this.
Really enjoying this practice Margi. Love the structure of 3 parts with asanas, meditation and the homework is very useful, especially while in lockdown in the Blue Mountains of Australia.  some useful calming tips.Thank you
Margi Young
Susan I love to think of you doing this in the Blue Mountains! So glad you are enjoying it. Yoga Anytime did a great job of organizing the content. Keep me posted on how it continues to unfold for you. Margi
Margi Young
Jenny Ah yes! That is helpful and it is also helpful to open the soles in any way possible!
Margi Young
M Angela Thank you so much for taking the time to chime in. The comments make me so happy that I have this platform to share my life's work and joys! Hope it continues to unfold for you in a way that offers some ease in this tense world. Much love and breath! Margi
Martha K
It always feels so good to send love to my feet! Thanks for the reminder.
Margi Young
Martha Ah, the feet! They are so important on the spiritual path! Thanks for practicing.  Margi
Glenford N
1 person likes this.
Paying attention to my feet was a powerful and moving experience. Thanks for your insights, wisdom and perception, Margi.
Melissa A
Loving the homework.  XO Melissa
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