Imagine times when our species slithered on the ground or when we crawled on all fours. What was different? We were close to the earth and more balanced. Falling was not as plentiful and with two sets of legs we could travel faster. Yet, we stood. For what reason is open to debate, but we stood. We stood on two feet and became bipedal. Some paleoanthropologists believe that it took up to six million years to rise to our own two feet and we saw great changes.

First, standing still. We stood still on both feet, an active process to keep balance as any yoga practitioner will tell you.  When we were on all fours we had easier balance. When we stood we learned to use our skeletal structure and muscles to stand still.

We walked! We place one foot in front of another with one foot always on the ground. We developed our psoas and incorporated movements from our earlier evolutionary means of locomotion to walk.

Our dominant sense switched from smell to sight. Instead of smelling what was once there we looked ahead anticipating what may be.

We changed our center of balance to a higher level so we could see at a distance, over shrubs and hills detecting prey or predator.

Our front paws morphed into hands (and thumbs) and we learn to fashion tools. Most of that was great news, although as we learned in 2001: A Space Odyssey, we also developed weapons.

Our sense of dimension changed. On all fours we had basically a top and bottom orientation, like a dog or cat. Now, as we stand upright, We have developed an orientation for top and bottom, left and right, and front and back. One can’t help but think that our mathematics may have arisen from that simple multi-million year gesture of standing on two feet. Lucky for us we developed fingers on which to count,

This evolution is still happening and our sense of the dimension is still changing. We engage more consciously the evolution of our spirituality and maybe we will reach a tipping point with more people living consciously. With hope we can shape our world more positively.

Yet, what is rarely mentioned in the discussions of evolution is probably the most important. From slithering on the ground, to crawling on all fours, to negotiating our rise to a bipedal position, we developed a disposition which ultimately makes us stronger. I refer to it in my Yoga classes when I teach tadasana (mountain pose) and virabhadrasana. (warrior pose) When we rose up onto two feet we became more vulnerable. Not only could we be pushed over easier, but our soft underbelly, once hidden and protected by the ground, became wide open, exposed to others and to the elements. And our heart is out there, front and center. It faces the future, it faces where we are going.  It faces danger. It faces joy.

My unscientific belief is that our evolution is an evolution of the heart. And the heart evolution continues.

On Saturday, October 26, I am offering Stand: A Yogic Exploration of Standing Postures. In this 2 and a half hour workshop will we will look at the standing postures that help us with our personal alignment and the benefits we gain through standing on our own two feet.

Swami Sathchidananda said, “Yoga is not just standing on your head, as many people think, but learning how to stand on your own two feet.” I will add that how we stand on the mat is how we stand in the world. Join us.

Stand: A Yogic Exploration of Standing Postures

Saturday, April  26; 10:00 am to Noon pm
The Metta Center
131 Broadway, 2B
Bellingham, WA 98225
Only $25.00
(Space is limited)