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YOGA THAT LETS YOU BE YOU

Tadasana: Mountain Pose 3 August 23, 2011

As the month of August is winding down to an end I wanted to ask…have you been working your Mountain Pose?  Well, in our home it has caught on and my son, Darius insisted that I share his Tadasana with all of you.  How beautiful and how awesome to see him connecting with self.  As he practiced this asana he quickly discovered that he had to become aware of his actions.  He had to quiet his brain and let his body be the guide.  Lastly, he had to slow down and just breath.  Afterwards he stated; “Man this yoga stuff is hard, but I like it.”

His statement shows that in order to grow we have to find grace in the challenges of our lives.  If we pack up and run every time things get “too hard” we will not discover the strength that lies within us waiting to blossom.  We also have to turn our energy inward to explore the possibilities of self.  In the beginning of his practice, he wanted to simply mimic my actions which is perfectly fine, and natural.  However, the true growth of his Tadasana came when his energy began to turn inward.  By drawing our attention to self we find weakness and strength.  We can also find stiffness and flexibility.  Overtime these elements will find harmony given us  a greater appreciation for self.  In my opinion, this is the best gift of one’s yoga practice.

As we visit Tadasana for the last time this month here are a few tips to help you get the most from this asana.

1. Stand with your feet hip distance a part.  Draw your weight evenly between both feet and legs.  Feel your feet rooted deeply into the earth by keeping the heels firm and the toes extended.  As your balance improves bring your big toes and heels together.

2.  As you ground down in your feet, feel a line of energy from the ankles, to the knees, and the hips.  Begin to draw the leg muscle up and curl your tailbone forward.  As you move the tailbone forward feel the lower back, or lumbar spine lengthen.  Begin to gently draw your belly in, as well as up to support the lower back. 

3.  Let the arms extend along the sides of your body, with palms facing your thighs, and fingers pointing down.  Feel the neck lengthen away from your shoulders.  Continue to draw your shoulders back and down, as if you were going to place your shoulder blades in your back pockets.  Lift your sternum, or your heart center,  and broaden your chest.  Let your breath flow in and out normally.

4. As you stand in your Mountain Pose continue pressing down through the mounds of your toes and heels of the feet.  Feel yourself rooted in the lower body and yet light in your upper body.  Allow the breath to quiet the mind as you seek stillness and strength from within.  Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds.  Each time you practice your asana continue to come with a curiosity, and a willingnees to discover something new that lies within you.

(Reference:  B.K.S. Iyengar YOGA the Path to Holistic Health, p.68-69)

 

Tadasana: Mountain Pose 2 August 15, 2011

The word tada means “mountain” in sanskrit.  Or in my classes I like to say, “Tada….look I’m standing on both feet!”  Often as we go through our day we shift our weight from side to side, rather than being balanced betweeen the legs, and feet.

Next time your standing in a line, or at your kitchen sink take a moment and notice how your weight is being distributed between your legs, and feet.  You might find you’re sagging in one hip placing more of your weight on that leg.  This can create an imbalance in your posture.  The good news is just by bringing awareness you can begin to shift allowing yourself to feel more balanced, along with feeling more connected.

Mountain Pose is good for all!  If you have issues with your spine, or Parkinson’s disease you can practice this asana with your back against a wall.  Practicing Tadasana will help correct bad posture, as well as straighten the spine.  It counters the degenerative effects of aging on the spine, legs, and feet.  The most exciting benefit in my opinion is that it also tones the buttock muscles…..yeah for yoga! (B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga the Path to Holistic Health)

So takes this pose of the month and work it.  You don’t need a mat or a class to benefit from this basic asana.  Take the time to seek balance, and you’ll find yourself feeling more connected and grounded…just like the majestic mountains of nature.

(Photo created by www.flicker.com)

 

Tadasana: Mountain Pose August 2, 2011

Often times in our practice I think we’re drawn to the full expression of an asana, or pose.  For instance, while practicing Vkrsasana: Tree Pose we don’t attain a strong foundation with balance before we try, with all of our might, to pull the heel of our foot to our groin.  In doing so, we look more like a Weeping Willow, rather than a sturdy Oak.  Taking this approach to a pose can help reinforce internal thoughts like: I have poor balance.  This statement may be currently true. 

However, we need to come to a place where our practice helps to create supportive thoughts, rather than our thoughts determining the outcome of our practice.  For instance, in Tree Pose if we allow the toes to rest on the ground while the heel of the foot rest on the inside of the standing leg we can begin to seek balance.  Once we find that balance we can begin to work on other aspects of the pose.  With this mindful, self-acceptance approach eventually supportive thoughts will arise like: My balance is improving. 

This got me thinking…finding ease in a pose is truly a matter of understanding the foundation of each pose.  Then with an open heart and a quite mind we meet ourselves where we’re at in the pose.  Being playful and being curious every step of the way.  It also got me thinking that Tadasana: Mountain Pose truly is the foundation of all asana.  As simple as it may appear, it takes quite a bit of awareness to align the body properly.  It takes even more awareness to seek that  alignment in each pose.

So, this month we honor Mountain Pose.  It’s a pose attainable for all, as well as a pose that truly can be practiced anywhere at anytime.  Try it standing, sitting or even lying down with feet grounded at the wall.  Feel your inward strength radiating out.  Have faith knowing that with a strong foundation, as well as proper alignment all poses are possible within your bodies unique form of expression.

In the weeks to follow I will share the benefits, the anatomy and the modifications for Tadasana.  Join me in my practice of Mountain Pose this month, and let’s feel grounded and stronger together.

Namaste

(Photo created by Esteem Fitness)