Yoga improves brain and bodily intelligence though its attentive repetition. It’s the discipline of one asana at a time. In the midst of each asana, our brains search to interpret the intelligence of our bodies and picks up the yogi’s growing ability to learn from the soles of their feet, from the twists of their spines, from the mindful placement of their palms and fingers.
Focus on the contact figure opens the mind and allows for it to receive the body’s intelligence, and in doing so, the soles of our feet become like a microchip feeding information to the mother board. It’s stunning to think that this is a two-way communication and that our brains are enriched by feedback from the soles of our feet. Breathe deep the gathering wisdom and learn what your bodily contact is teaching
Think of standing on your mat in class holding tadasana, mountain pose, and that your mat is the entire focus of your attention. In your mind, shift your awareness to the place where the soles of your feet make contact with your mat and pretend as if that place is all that exists. Your entire world is made up of the space that forms two outlines on the bottom of your feet. This is what Gestalt calls the figure, and everything else – except that one patch where your two feet make contact – is the back ground/landscape of perception and awareness.
Now imagine standing in mountain pose, lifting one foot from your mat. With one foot lifted, only a small patch of earth/foot contact is directing your life and that one patch is the outline of your right foot. To further work the experiment, and let your body teach your mind what it must, close your eyes in this mountain pose while still standing on your right foot.
A heightened challenge is yours if you stand and your eyes remain closed. Reach for your left foot with your left hand and if possible, straighten your left leg and move it to your left side. What happened to your awareness of your right foot’s contact with your mat? Answering this question luminates the integrative mind/body work of yoga.