When I started taking yoga classes it became obvious very quickly how many decades it had been since I was on the floor…intentionally. Sure, when my kids were much smaller I would get down on the floor and play with them but the discomfort I experienced in my hips and knees was mitigated by being in the presence of the little, learning beings. It doesn’t hit you at first but at some point in a yoga class, you realize that for twenty or thirty minutes of a one hour class, you have been on your belly, your back, your side, or your knees. When I used to be down on the floor with my kids, I would usually crawl over to table or a couch to assist me in coming up against gravity. Some “dad noises” were made as I eventually straightened-up.
We just completed the final day of yoga teacher training at Ekahi before the final exams next week. One of the things about yoga teacher training is that there are no desks, no chairs, no stools. Mats and cushions are available which sounds comforting but when the days are long, you find your subconscious mind starts to chatter, saying things like, “Go get a chair!” or “You can’t be doing this – you are going to get a pressure sore!” or “If I sit for much longer, something is going to tear – I am sure of it!” During the training, you realize that there are limitless opportunities to witness the chattering of the subconscious mind. You remember to breathe and calm your subconscious and remind it that nothing bad is going to happen. I have actually come to appreciate the floor. I realized that most middle-aged adults begin to fear the floor. Generally for most adults if you are on the floor – there might not be a good reason you are there. I started to notice that there is a different perspective when you are on the floor. When you have conversations on the floor – you listen better. When you write notes while lying on your tummy, you seem to integrate better.
While I don’t plan to get rid of our kitchen table and chairs just yet, I am starting to appreciate the mindful benefits of eating while sitting on the floor or reading on the floor. When our muscles are engaged and numerous parts of the body receive pressure, the mind seems less interested in chattering away about some senseless ego issues.