EXPAND – become or make larger or more extensive…broaden, widen, develop.
-New Oxford American dictionary.
I was in a favourite yoga teacher’s class recently and we were preparing to move into our sun salutations. Standing in Tadasana, or mountain pose- we were focused on grounding our energy down through our feet into the floor. Standing still, just standing, with feet together and allowing our bodies to align and find a stillness- is a deceptively difficult thing to do.
My teacher said… Find the stillness before we begin. Soften and find strength. You must be steady before you can expand.
Riiiight…..right! Steady before expansion! I almost started sweating in the rush that this profound realization brought. Pure truth. Have you ever watched a baby stand for the first time? They finally pull themselves up to their feet and then they sway for a moment, precariously teetering between balance and their diapered bums plunking back down on the floor. Innately, they have the sense that they should feel steady before they move forward. Sometimes they get really excited to be standing and they fling their arms and try to walk…down they go. If they try to do too much before they are steady on their feet, they find themselves back at square one.
In a larger sense, emotionally, we can apply this principal to our lives. If you aren’t grounded in life, things feel unsettled– life comes at you and can knock you down. Times are tough. It is easy to feel like we are spinning wildly out of control; we grasp for anything, everything to steady us. Instead of slowing down, this only speeds the tumble. We want to be out of our current situation, it is uncomfortable or not what we thought it would be. There is more power in standing solidly on your own two feet, literally and figuratively, than trying to push yourself forward with an unsteady step.
Settle yourself. Find a firm foundation to ground you. Then grow out of that grounded place. You can spread your wings more fully when you have a place to settle.
You must be steady before you can expand. Firmly grounded before you can fly.