Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mountain Pose: Standing on Your Own Two Feet

Standing on your own two feet sounds like one of the simplest of tasks, but it is something I find challenging my students again, and again. Making contact with the ground in a firm and balanced way doesn't always happen automatically for a number of reasons.

Firstly, we all have our own habitual ways of standing, and the longer we stand the more pronounced these usually become. A teacher of mine used to say, "Let me see your best grocery store line stance." And there we'd all be, leaning on one foot or the other, maybe a heel rocked back; a slouch though the torso. When we get tired we tend to alternate putting more pressure on one foot, then the other, when in reality we would get heaps more energy if we would just push down into our feet evenly.

Secondly, these habitual patterns create, and reinforce muscle and skeletal imbalances. In turn we feel more fatigued, and this spreads throughout the whole body.

Thirdly, our footwear can be truly horrendous. Much of it fails to give adequate support to our feet and legs, some of it tips our pelvis and torso at odd angles (high heels, anyone?), and they can reinforce or exacerbate imbalances already present.

But, never fear...YOGA is here, and it provides an easy solution in the posture known as Tadasana, or Mountain Pose.

This posture is basically standing evenly on your own two feet. Try it out (get outside in the grass if you can, it will make this exercise even more yummy):

Come to a standing position in your bare feet (important so that you can feel them!) Stand with your big toes, heels and ankles together, if this is very uncomfortable for you, try separating your feet about 6 inches, but keep your feet parallel. Allow your hands to hang down by your side.

Begin to press your feet firmly into the ground. Can you feel each of the four sides, of each foot, touching the ground? Notice if there are any gaps, or if you are leaning a little more to one edge or another. Press down the balls of your feet and lift your toes; then spread them out as if they were fingers, and place them back down one, by one. Press fully into your feet again. Notice the sensations that come as the soles of your feet make contact with the earth; feel the energy that is being drawn up and into your body.

Notice what is happening in your legs as you press. Do you find a new firmness? An increase in energy? What has happened to the pelvis? Bring your awareness further up, and notice the position of your chest, shoulders, neck and head. Do you feel lighter? Straighter? Stronger? Take note of all these things and the way your entire body feels in its position in space.

In Yoga we use the energy of moving down, to rise up; this is the foundation of every posture.

If you are new to yoga, WELCOME, you are doing it, and can continue your sadhana (practice) every time you are standing on your own two feet.

May your feet always rest joyfully upon the earth,



In Due Time said...

Coming over from ICLW...

I did Yoga on the WII and was suprised at how much it actually worked the body. I wasn't expecting it!

Kate said...

Hello, what a wonderful blog that I have never seen before! When are you going to talk about child's play?

~Shiona~ said...

I'm coming over from ICLW. I did prenatal yoga last year when was pregnant with my son and have wanted to start taking yoga. I will be back to learn more. Thanls so much!

My name is Andy. said...

I've always wanted to try Yoga, maybe ICLW will be the push I need!

I'm going to try this tonight when I get home.

seriously? said...

Here from ICLW. I have been getting schooled about my posture an the way I stand by my dance teacher. I started taking a cobo yoga/pilaties class at the gym to try and help it out. I am going to give this pose a try!

Lisa said...

Thanks for the visit. Cool blog -- it looks so informative. Can't wait to read through more of your posts about poses and mantras.

Lisa said...

Here from ILCW, and I'm glad I clicked. I'm about to start acupuncture again, and my acupuncturist really recommends trying yoga, too.

Nic said...

Over from ICLW...

Lovely! thank you, I feel refreshed even reading it!

The British weather is preventing me trying it on grass (but you know that, right?!)


alicia said...

I do yoga on the Wii Fit and love it !I have also taken yoga classes, but the wii fit is at home so I like it more! I lvoe the mountain pose!

here from ICLW

Jaymee said...

great blog, look forward to reading more.