Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mountain Pose - Tadasana

Mountains are a symbol of strength and stability. They have an inherent grace and grandeur. In Asheville we are surrounded by the soft, ancient and sacred Appalachian mountains.

Mountain pose is a pose we do everyday without thinking about it. It is our foundation; our home base. We can always return to Tadasana to center ourselves and start over. We can use the principles of Tadasana in our daily lives: create a foundation, remember our core, set our alignment and expand outward with grace and wisdom. Let the mountains be our inspiration for this pose and our alignment with our own inner beauty.

Basics of Tadasana
  1. Ground deeply and evenly through the 4 corners of the feet (big toe mound, inner heel, little toe mound and outer heel). Lift up through the arch of the foot.

  2. Keep the energy of the legs strong. Hug the muscles to the bone, feeling energy spiral from the ankles up to the inner thighs opening the back of the pelvis. Feel the natural curve in the low back.

  3. Draw the tailbone downward and lift the belly up. Imagine an energy loop connecting these actions. So the energy of the tailbone draws toward the heels but then rounds upwards lifting and creating tone in the belly.

  4. Breathe in fully and deeply expanding the breath into the back of the body. The breath expands into the chest naturally but we want to consciously send the breath to open the back so the rib cage expands in all directions.

  5. Inhale feeling the breath lift the shoulders and lengthen the side body and spine. On the exhale softly place your shoulders onto the back feeling the chest open and freedom between the back shoulder blades.

  6. Take the top of the throat back lengthening the back of the neck and feeling the top of the head being drawn upwards. This movement should bring the head in line with the shoulders so there is no muscular tension in the neck. Most people carry their heads forward of the shoulder so the muscles are strained keeping the head lifted.
Benefits of Tadasana:
  • Improves posture Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles

  • Firms abdomen and buttocks

  • Relieves sciatica

  • Reduces flat feet
You can use the principles of Tadasana when you are sitting at your desk, driving your car, walking your dog, jogging, waiting in line, just about anywhere. It is the awareness of bringing the heels, knees, hips, shoulders and back of the head into alignment that will allow our bodies to heal itself. This opens energy channels, puts less constant strain on the muscles and gives a sense of ease and freedom of movement.

When you have the proper alignment your body should feel light and open. When you begin to notice your habits of standing you can start replacing poor habits with good habits. This can decrease hip pain, back pain, flat feet, neck pain and tightness of breath.

Video showing Tadasana

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