Flow and the Elegance of the Pivot

by Tracey Rich

Take nothing for granted. That's what I tell myself, steadied between two crutches. I have never broken anything before and hope this is the first and last time. Teetering upon a broken foot I am grateful for so many things, among them the beauty and the elegance of the pivot; a move I currently long for and meditate upon heavily as it has been removed from my repertoire of motion.  

The pivot is one of life's most graceful moves and it gives us such freedom. It is the move that allows us to change our mind, transition between this and that, and shows us that we can not really ever be in two places simultaneously...we only think we can. The pivot, if studied closely, can teach us presence. 

Having a dancer's fracture (at least I got one with an elegant title), I have joined the ranks of those who have experienced a very frequent and common injury. And with this comes the study of patience, and the practice of presence as everything becomes a walking meditation. What an opportunity to take each step with consciousness. Truly, what else can you do but surrender to the living moment for I am now going no place fast.  I am also amongst the ranks of those who adore the illusion that they can be in several places at once, a multi-tasker extraordinaire. In this, I am quite talented, and would now take a bow if it wouldn't hurt my foot so much. 

In a flowing yoga practice there is the opportunity to move gracefully, and to connect our practice by linking our movements with attention and breath. Here, the elegant pivot often comes into play especially in a standing sequence. The feet are the foundation of every standing pose and the focus for initiating upward moving energy. This connection allows us to create space in our hip sockets, preparing for the movement of the femur bone and accompanying muscle groups to carry our flow from side to side.  As we transition from one side to another in a standing sequence the shifting movement that begins with our feet also becomes the directional change of our hips, the femur bone gently rotating in the socket. Where goes the heel--so goes the hip, creating space for the sacrum and lower back in the pose as well.

A dancer's fracture is a broken bone at the bottom of the fifth metatarsal--the bone that naturally sticks out ever so slightly or bulges a bit midway along the outside side of your foot. The lovely straight edge, 45 or 90 degree alignment of the back foot in my standing practice, is currently out of order. The tendons do not like the slightest angle or subtle change of direction. The pivot is unequivocally out. And a change of mind when already in motion that used to translate into a seemingly unannounced movement to one, two, or three simultaneous directions is over for the moment too. Thus, my appreciation of the pivot has risen enormously. I almost worship it in its absence. 

Still, the gearing down into a slower flow of life, a more measured (dare I say peaceful and certainly mindful) pace brings other nourishment , joys, and appreciations. I get less done and I only do more with the help of my friends and significant other. It's been good to slow the flow, or perhaps to tap into a flow that exists which I have been moving too quickly to appreciate. This experience has been healthy on many levels. I will always be grateful for the elegant pivot, maybe even more-so when it returns. But I am also grateful for taking little for granted and for finding a different flow.