Many years ago I worked on a weather-related computer project that was extremely data intensive; numbers streamed into our system every hour of every day. My group wrote programs that created graphs, charts, and other visual displays that our client used for analysis. Central to the system was the database that stored the information used to create our graphics.

Unfortunately, in an effort to save money the company used an old database that was not designed to handle such a large task. Though the data flowed in well, we could not get it back out quickly. When trying to do a quick check of the weather, we sometimes would wait upwards of two hours for the results to appear. Of course, by that point, the information was outdated.

Not surprisingly, the project failed. The database was the foundation upon which the entire project was built, and when it did not work well, the rest of the project crumbled.

In yoga poses, the foundation of a pose is crucial. If the foundation is not set properly, the entire pose is off. In standing poses, if the feet are not placed well, the alignment of the rest of the body is altered as the legs, hips, back, shoulders, and head all shift to compensate. Balance may become more challenging, and the strength and flexibility benefits may be lessened or negated. When the feet are placed well, the rest of the pose can be built above them with a great degree of control and stability no matter how complex or twisted the pose may be.

All of us have some type of base upon which we build our lives. These essentials may include our network of family and friends, our health, our jobs, and our possessions. However, one constant in life is that there is always change. Nothing stays the same forever. Some changes are sudden: an accident or winning the lottery. Others can be anticipated and prepared for: starting a new job, moving to a new city, or the birth of a child, though the full ramifications of any change, major or minor, are usually not completely predictable.

When there is a significant change, our lives shift. What was important beforehand may become completely unimportant afterwards. Winning the lottery may make money worries disappear, but may cause a variety of other problems. When a child is born, the wellbeing of the baby and a good night’s sleep become the new parents’ focus for quite a while. A health crisis may cause us to examine our physical habits and modify the way we eat, move, and exercise.

Often a change forces us to examine what is really important to us, and we focus on the necessities. How well we adjust depends in part upon the solidity of our base. If we have set our foundation well and know what is truly essential, we can weather all of life’s changes.