One of the revolutionary aspects of this approach to Yoga is the discovery of gravity. If you want to be able to experience how the upper part of your body becomes light while the lower part “sinks” (or drops) deeper and deeper into the earth, your feet must become engaged.
Then gravity’s pull does the rest. This led a professional mountain guide to exclaim: “I have spent three quarters of my life in the mountains but I have never ever felt anything like this before.”
We owe a great debt to the ancient Egyptians. Kings and queens had surprisingly open and grounded feet. Most of us have lost the knowledge and ability to stand properly. This capacity has been rekindled through Vanda’s teaching. To walk correctly, weight must be felt as it sinks into the back heel. This creates a strong downward pull through the entire leg which continues even when the heel lifts onto the ball of the foot in preparation to take a step. As weight moves forward, this “resistance” (in the heel) induces the toes to lengthen and open. The entire spine is awakened, leading to well-being, grace and a reassuring sense of self with each step. Upon discovery of this new way to walk a Yoga teacher exclaimed: “Talking about feet and heels has been one of the main features of my lessons. Now after only a few days of engaging my feet in this special Egyptian way, I realize that I have understood about 5% of this.”
The breath is a great friend; its invisible force is pure power. Movements are made while exhaling. Inhalation offers an opportunity to relax. Attuning to this natural process, a new understanding takes place. Forcing or pushing into a position no longer makes sense. I received this letter from someone who had attended my classes: “My Yoga practice has really changed. It’s become much more a relaxing part of my day. I no longer push myself to go beyond what I feel my body wants. I also feel much more grounded than ever before and my focus has greatly widened. It’s really become a ‘body holiday’ as Vanda put it.”
Disregarding pain, rigidity or discomfort can lead to injuries and frustration. I did not realize how unsatisfactory and unrewarding my practice was (in spite of more than 20 years of serious dedication) until I was initiated into this revolutionary life-changing approach.
My years with Vanda opened up worlds, previously unknown, even though I had been practicing all of the positions and movements correctly. She considered the way one felt at the end of a lesson to be a good indication of what had taken place. Insightful breathing and deep attentive listening bring relief to the psyche. One of the students put it this way: “I have been moved to tears. I don’t have words to describe the feelings. My soul was flying like a butterfly in the summer. I feel so happy.”