Build a Solid Foundation In Your Yoga Practice By Perfecting Tadasana – Mountain Pose #movementmonday
“My Body Is My Temple And Asanas Are My Prayers” B.K.S. Iyengar
It is starting to feel as though in the West, our yoga focus is mostly on the asana, the poses. The more creative and intricate the sequences, the more inviting and invigorating the vinyasa flows, the more excited we become at sharing our accomplishments. Combine all this with social media and it might seem we are taking the ancient discipline and making yoga appear to be all about flexibility or even limitless extremes.
But Mr. Iyengar never said yoga was about unlimited flexibility. It is a discipline and much more… a science, an art, a spiritual channel, a book of philosophies teaching us about acts of kindness and non-harming acts against others and ourselves. Something we all need to practice more.
My teachers have on many occasions encouraged me to back up my practice on a regular basis. Come back to my foundation. Remind myself of my roots and how they feel in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. What a meaningful metaphor, placing your body shape and posture in line with the strength and girth of a mountain. Or a crow, a pigeon, lion, fish, tree, and so on! And although these poses are all very different in focus being standing, arm balancing, and hip opening, they all have one commonality, Tadasana.
Today I teach to heal. Manipulating the minutia of your fibers to self-correct is what makes yoga medicine. When practicing any posture the foundation is always the most important. Mountain pose is the blueprint for any advancing practice. It is the one constant in every yoga pose. It is the all-in-one yoga pose. It is the go-to yoga pose when all you have time for is a 15-minute session. It is your best teaching pose as Mountain Pose is considered the foundation of all standing poses.
Backing up your growing practice doesn’t mean stop working at your inversions or binds, it means dissect deeper and trace its roots back to Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Part of being able to find your foundation in any pose will encourage you to feel the alignment and strength you can achieve just by engaging in Mountain Pose. If you set up and stack all the joints on top of each other you will achieve that sense of control and empowerment yoga has to offer.
Think about taking the concept of stacked limbs into every other pose with you as you practice. Once you can find your Tadasana set up in your headstand, arm balance, and twist, your practice will feed your body in an entirely new manner, making Tadasana, the real foundation that is required for a stable and a well rooted yoga practice. Next time you come to your mat, start with Mountain Pose and build on that incrementally as you evolve your practice. Learn to find your Tadasana upside down, sideways, as well as upright. Once this becomes second nature in your body, your Tadasana will be your guide or a “prayer” as Mr. Iyengar might refer to it, reining us in somewhat from public display and reestablishing the discipline within ourselves.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana) is the foundation of all standing poses. The benefits are numerous and the efforts will astonish you. Mountain Pose will make you laugh and sweat at the same time. This energy increaser brings strength to the thighs, knees, and ankles while relieving sciatica, firming the abs and buttocks, and steadies breath. Often I see clients who ask me why they are sweating when seemingly they are not moving. The internal heat and muscle engagement you can achieve in Tadasana has magical healing powers. Come to your mat and try it!