After a long time, I opened my yoga book “Light on Yoga” yesterday and instead of going over the details of tricky inversions poses, I flipped to the very first asana, Tadasana, the Mountain Pose. Its the first basic pose in the book, but the writer took five steps to describe the art of standing up strong, straight and unmoved.
- You start with Standing erect with the feet together, the heels and big toes touching each other, rest the heads of metatarsals on the floor and stretch all the toes flat on the floor.
- Tighten the knees and pull the knee-caps up, contract the hips and pull up the muscles at the back of the thighs.
- Keep the stomach in, chest forward, spine stretched up and the neck straight.
- Do not bear the weight of the body either on the heels or the toes, but distribute it evenly on both of them.
- Ideally in Tadasana, the arms are stretched out over the head, but for the sake of convenience, one can place them by the side of the thighs.
As I finished reading, I realized how bad my standing pose is usually.
These days, I don’t spend more than 30 minutes standing up. I am usually sitting, walking, sleeping or just moving around, but when I do stand I end up standing lousily (in my head its stylish and flattering) with weight set on one leg, and the other leg slightly ahead at an angle. It looks good in pictures and I feel relaxed with on leg resting. But unintuitively, the effects it has on my body are absolutely contrary. Not distributing weight across the feet of the ground, not standing straight with the hips tightened, abdomen pulled in and chest forward, puts excess pressure on the spinal cord, causing heaviness in the head, fatigue and knee problems. Come to think of it, I can not stand straight in my current usual pose for more than 5-10min and have to sit down.
Since reading that chapter, I have started to follow a five step approach to fix my stance, whenever I can remember it. Point the toes straight ahead, distribute body weight equally on toes and heels, tighten the thighs, pull in the abdomen and straighten the chest. You have to play around with the movement in the beginning till you can feel the balance and lightness in the head. But once you do, you will feel more alert and in connection with the entire body, head to toe.
Cheers To..Learning back the art of standing straight as we did when we first stood up as a kid.