The Thankless But Necessary Step You Cannot Skip in Life

Building a foundation—for a practice, a house, a relationship—is the crucial first step in any endeavor

Kali Sampson Alexander is a teacher at Wanderlust Hollywood. Come practice, listen, taste, learn, and gather with us at our new center.

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“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” – David Allan Coe

What are you building right now? Are you building happiness? A career you love? A loving family? Maybe you’re building an empire? Recently I asked myself some of these questions, which forced me to examine what foundation I have created in order to prosper and build upon. This was a “tell the truth and shame the devil” moment. Taking an honest look at yourself with a loving heart can make a world of difference in creating or continuing to create the world you want. This is a huge act of self-care and love. One way we express our self-value is by taking a tender inward gaze at what we are doing, where we have been, where we are going, and what we are poised to become. And then with reverence, refine and proceed ahead.

The fifth limb of yoga, pratyahara, directs yoga practitioners to regulate our senses from the external world so that we can delve deeper into our true nature and the inner world. This inner reflection can provide the sustenance for organic creation from which we can begin to build and deliver into the world.

My father was a general contractor. During one winter and spring when I was about 9 years old, he drafted the architectural plans for the addition he was adding to our family home. In the summer it all went down and we each had our jobs. Let me tell you, nailing the 2 x 4’s, erecting the outer structure, hanging the dry wall, applying putty, painting, laying the shingles on the roof, etc., were the easy parts. But that foundation! It was a beast! And it seemed to take forever! Building a foundation is a thankless but necessary process. The stability from taking the care to build one solidly will make everything else shine. When the addition was finished it was gorgeous. Neighbors, friends, and family would come over to see how it came out. They would say things like: “Oh, what beautiful and spacious closets.” “The color of the paint is gorgeous!” “The windows are just fantastic.” “The bathroom counters are so lovely!” Not a single person said a word about the foundation. Not one. A thankless but necessary element.

Once again, I ask you: What are you building right now? It’s always the right time to look yourself in the mirror—with loving eyes—tell the truth, and make the adjustments necessary so you can surge ahead unabashedly.

Photo by Megan Kathleen

kali-sampson-alexanderA beloved LA-based yoga teacher, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, and mama, Kali has the unique ability to make the “woo-woo” approachable to the yoga novice, fence-sitter, seasoned practitioner, and the everyday Jill and Joe. Her capacity to apply her knowledge of ancient Eastern modalities and make them relevant and effective for contemporary living in a Western world creates a unique synergy that resonates within a modern lifestyle. Kali’s classes are marked by creativity, community, strategic effort, and smart practical application to help her students build a sustainable yoga practice that endures a lifetime. thisishowiflow.com