By Bronwyn Ison
If you practice yoga the terminology, Mountain Pose or Tadasana will be familiar. Whether you practice yoga or not you are in this posture daily. The posture is simply standing straight in one place. However, executing its true form requires practice. Standing strong like a mountain that cannot be manipulated allows you to gain confidence. The beauty of the posture is that you can explore and gain awareness in all that you do from day-to-day.
Tadasana, a.k.a Mountain Pose may seem basic because you are simply standing in place. Form is important to executing the stance properly. Why? Tadasana is the foundational posture and starting point to our standing postures in yoga. You may be inquiring… What does this matter? I don’t do yoga. It is important because everything that we do in our daily routines derives from a standing position. We are talking about our posture. As a child or adolescent, how often did you hear to stand up straight? I would imagine you heard this on several occasions. The importance of this posture in yoga assists one in transitioning from posture to posture. Much like we transition from activity to activity in our daily rituals. Not only do we feel taller when we stand straight, we also exude high self-esteem.
I recall my first yoga class 15 years ago. The instructor began the class in Mountain Pose, Tadasana. I stood in place at the top of my mat. As I waited for more direction, we stood for nearly five minutes. Was I missing something? No. Mountain Pose is standing in place, firm and sturdy like a monolith. I have also realized with many years of practice that simply standing can be relaxing and rejuvenating. You are grounding yourself as well as preparing for your next move.
How should you begin? You may visit your favorite yoga studio to glean detailed instruction by treating yourself to a private lesson. Or, consider following these tips suggested by Yoga Journal.
Stand with the bases of your big toes touching, heels slightly apart (so that your second toes are parallel). Lift and spread your toes and the balls of your feet, then lay them softly down on the floor. Rock back and forth and side to side. Gradually reduce this swaying to a standstill, with your weight balanced evenly on the feet.
Firm your thigh muscles and lift the kneecaps, without hardening your lower belly. Lift the inner ankles to strengthen the inner arches, then imagine a line of energy all the way up along your inner thighs to your groins, and from there through the core of your torso, neck, and head, and out through the crown of your head. Turn the upper thighs slightly inward. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and lift the pubis toward the navel.
Press your shoulder blades into your back, then widen them across and release them down your back. Without pushing your lower front ribs forward, lift the top of your sternum straight toward the ceiling. Widen your collarbones. Hang your arms beside the torso.
Balance the crown of your head directly over the center of your pelvis, with the underside of your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft, and the tongue wide and flat on the floor of your mouth. Soften your eyes.
Standing firm on your mat and in your daily activities will bring you balance in all that you do. Stand strong. Be grounded.
Bronwyn Ison is the owner of Evolve Yoga. www.e-volvyoga.com 760.564.YOGA