Pillars of Power: Find Your Foundation On + Off the Mat

Leah Cullis, a master Baptiste Yoga teacher who will lead YJ's upcoming online course, Pillars of Power Yoga, explains the importance of finding your foundation, on and off the mat.
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Leah Cullis, a master Baptiste Yoga teacher who will lead YJ's upcoming online course, Pillars of Power Yoga, explains the importance of finding your foundation, on and off the mat.
Leah Cullis, Mountain Pose, Foundation

In YJ's upcoming online course, Pillars of Power Yoga, master Baptiste Yoga teacher Leah Cullis will lead an athletic and spiritual immersion into the five core pillars of Baptiste Yoga: drishti, breath, foundation, heat, and flow. Sign up now for Pillars of Power Yoga to learn more about Baptiste Yoga and be the first to know when this fitness- and focus-boosting course launches. Here, she explains the importance of finding your foundation both on and off the mat.

Being grounded is really important to me. I have a history of worrying, spending too much time up in my head, and moving too quickly, so being in my body is essential for me to live my best life. My practice on the mat is my foundation for feeling centered in my life.

The Foundation of a Yoga Pose

In Baptiste Yoga, we say the foundation is "hands, feet, core," or whatever is touching the earth. The connection to the earth creates the platform for growth. In Mountain Pose (Tadasana), the blueprint for all asanas, we draw strength from the foundation, or earth, up to the core and lift from there. From the core to the floor, we root down. This creates total body integration, or the union of all parts. With total body integration, we start to move with more ease and purpose. When you build a solid structure from the ground up, stress, imbalance, and rigidity begin to melt away, and you begin to expand in new directions. More structure or more form actually gives access to greater creativity and flow.

Your Foundation in Daily Life

The same holds true off the mat. If you're always struggling to get your footing, without a secure foundation, you might constantly feel pulled in different directions. For example, if you're not sure what you want to be doing for work, it’s easy to feel stuck in your current job. Motivation and purpose in your work create an outline for you to follow, just like eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods serves as a platform for feeling good and loving your body.

Yoga As Your Foundation for Life

For me, making time on the mat for my physical practice is my foundation. If I don't carve out this essential time for myself, I start forgetting things. I get flighty or even reactive and a little sharp. Making the time for daily movement, taking some time to sit quietly and focus on my breath, and eating a proper diet are the building blocks for me to clear my head and create a life where I feel balanced, where I can "show up" for my students and be fully aligned with love for my partner and family.