Welcome to the weekly blog where I will highlight and discuss one pose. Every week…one.new.pose.
To be sure…no pose is new. The practice of yoga dates back over 5000 years. I like to say that what’s old is new. In my practice what’s new to me is making sure that, in addition to the asanas and pranayama, I am bringing in the other 6 parts that make up the 8 limbs of yoga. I also try in my teaching to explain how to *be* in the poses in a way that honors one’s body in all its uniqueness AND facilitates the building of the foundation upon which there will be greater strength building and extension.
This week’s pose is Tadasana or Standing Mountain Pose. Iyengar said of this asana, “Once we can master Tadasana, then all other poses come.” Indeed, I’d like you to consider, as I was taught in yoga teacher training: ALL poses are Tadasana. These are the reasons why:
~In all poses, through expansion, we try to take up as much space as we can. Well, maybe not all poses, but most.
~In all poses we have specific points of alignment: the cranium, the shoulders, the hips, the knees, the feet. When we apply these universal points of alignment, we achieve strength and safety within each pose.
Let’s go through Tadasana together.
~Start at the top of your mat
~Either have your feet together or the distance of 1 to 2 fists apart
~To establish your foundation lift all of your toes and activate the arch of your foot. Make sure that all three points of the foot are in equal contact with the floor: the big toe ball mount, the pinky toe ball mount, and the heel. having done all of that, lower your toes one at a time starting with your pinky toes and keep your arch engaged.
~Traveling up to your knees slightly tighten and raise the skin above your knee cap.
~Now pull your belly button into the spine as you slightly tilt your tailbone toward the ground
~Inhale and bring your shoulders up to your ears, the back and down on your back. Widen your collar bones.
~Move your cranium back in space so that it is squarely stacked over your shoulders.
~Make sure that your shoulders are stacked over your hips, your hips are stacked over your knees, and your knees over your ankles
~Finally, create length by drawing the crown of your head up to the sky, as you continue to draw your shoulders and tailbone down.
Take note of all the parts of the body and muscles that are involved in just STANDING!
There is a lot going on in this pose.
To even further understand all of the major and minor muscle groups that are involved in a proper Tadasana, try to do it against a wall.
I am recovering from a self-inflicted injury. I say that it is self-inflicted because I definitely should have known the damage carrying a heavy computer in a bag on my forearm would cause. The constant weight pulling down and forward caused injury to the ligaments and muscles in my thoracic region. It took months to heal. I’ll tell you what helped: Tadasana. The reason for that is the way we must hold our shoulders in Tadasana. They must be down and back, pulling our shoulder blades together as if we are trying to hold a pencil between them. I mindfully engaged in Tadasana every moment I could through out the day: working at my desk, cooking and food preparation, standing in line at the store, carrying things. Creating this space requires the strengthening of all of the muscles across the upper back and it removes pressure from the nerves. I’m 100% out of pain.
So, when you think of Tadasana as *just standing* take a moment to consider the strength involved to truly make this Standing Mountain Pose. Consider all the tiny muscles you are developing by being in this pose. Consider all the ways you re-align your body when you stand in this pose.
Trust me, you’ll never call it a simple pose again.