feet The miracle that our human body is goes unnoticed most of the time. A yoga teacher has the privilege of bringing people home to their bodies in the way she conducts classes – and hopefully to a sense of wonder and appreciation about our embodiment. Over the years I’ve done several studied of anatomy and physiology. One of the reasons I love those sciences is that they present a map for one way of understanding our bodies. When I ask students to look at the way they stand on their feet in tadasana (mountain pose), I remind them that there are 26 bones, 33 joints, and over a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments in each foot. There’s no way that we can appreciate even a small part of such complexity, except by keenly concentrating our attention. And, there’s the beauty of practising asanas. By coming into a deeply reverential relationship with the fine points of our anatomy, the possibility of quietening our minds and becoming meditative opens up. This process takes us from our sometimes mechanical and superficial way of moving through the world to a state of interiority and relaxed attention – the state of yoga. Today, in my teaching of savasana (yoga relaxation), I led the students through a detailed scan of their bodies, from feet to head. By the time I was suggesting to the students to focus on relaxing their facial features, I could hear the soft sounds of snoring coming from a few quarters. It sounds funny, but the process of releasing each body part can tire the mind. Once the mind is adrift, the pull of sleep may prove irresistible. A good exercise to help one stay awake during savasana is listening to an audio recording of a yoga relaxation every day over a couple of weeks, with the intention of cultivating a state of wakeful repose. It’s a strange thing about us humans – we need to be taught to relax. You can listen to a guided meditation that I recorded by clicking below.

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