IT DOESN’T look much of a yoga pose, does it? There’s no throwing shapes here. But mountain pose, or tadasana, is one posture that we all need to work on to keep our bodies free from aches and pains.
You see, it’s all about the feet. The famous bodyworker Ida Rolf was right — so many musculoskeletal issues are down to how we stand and walk. ‘A man’s tracks tell quite a true story,’ she said. ‘They inform quietly about ankles and knees, but they shout the news about hips and pelvis.’
If our feet are in the right position, our body stacks up nicely on top, thus helping to minimise postural issues. Just like a mountain, in tadasana we stand strong and tall, grounding down into the earth, and we feel on top of the world.
HOW TO DO IT
STAND on a firm surface, socks off — you want to see those toes.
First concentrate on the feet. Bring them together or, if it feels more comfortable, keep them hip-width apart, but make sure the outer edges are parallel. Lift up all of the toes and lay them back down on the ground, big toes first, spreading them as wide as possible. Rock from balls to heels, side to side, to find a place where you are equally balanced between both feet.
Now focus on your knees. Lift the kneecaps ever so slightly and feel the thigh muscles engage.
To find a neutral position for the pelvis, place one hand on your tummy and the other on your sacrum. Tilt your pelvis back and forth in an exaggerated way until you find a position that feels right for you.
Pull in and up a little with the abdominal muscles to make your core strong and maintain the position of your pelvis. Drop your hands to the sides and actively roll your shoulders back to release any tension. Lift the chest, lengthen the spine and tuck the chin in ever so slightly.
If you like, bring your hands together into a ‘prayer’ position, pressing your thumbs into sternum, or you can keep your hands at your sides. Another alternative is to keep the arms active and face your palms forward – perfect if you feel ready to accept what the world might be offering to you right now.
Come to your breath. As you inhale, imagine the breath travelling up from the ground, through the feet, all the way up to the crown of the head. As you exhale, it travels all the way back down. Try and keep the weight balanced equally between your feet – it’s harder than you think.
Keep working muscles actively to stay aware of the posture. Stay here as long as your like.
IS IT FOR EVERYONE?
OH YES. even if you have trouble standing you can just focus on lengthening the spine while sitting.
Practise anywhere — in a queue at the supermarket or waiting for the bus — but maybe keep your hands at your sides rather than taking ‘prayer’ position or people might think you’re a little crazy…
IF YOU have a yoga query email email@example.com
First published in the Irish Daily Mail, May 26, 2015