Mountain Pose (Tadasana) or Samasthitiḥ
Tadasana is how we start class a lot of times, and during class, throughout most of the postures we can always come back to the basics of this alignment.
In Tadasana we start at the feet. These foundation basics of the foot can be applied to all standing postures.
In Tadasana the toes almost touch, and there is a tiny bit of space between the heels if comfortable, if not stand with feet hip distance apart.
- As toes spread out, press into the toe mound (just below big toe) and into the outer edge of the foot on the pinkie toe side.
- press into the last two focal points on either side of heel
- allow the inner ankle bones to lift
From the feet, moving inward and you're feeling this vitality through the legs. It's like you are squeezing into a block.
Add a little bit of micro bend in your stance especially if your knees hyper extend, it helps to shift the weight back slightly towards your heels then spread the weight evenly to incorporate the toes.
Lengthen the sit bones downward and then the ribs are knitted in, allow the shoulders to slide down the back.
Remember the vitality through the inner thighs, ribs knit in, heart lifts, shoulders slide down the back.
- Ear over shoulder.
- Shoulder over hip.
- Hip over ankle.
- Vitality through the fingers as you reach down.
Full Body Alignment in Mountain Pose
Standing with ears, shoulder hips, heel in a vertical line.
Spread toes, feel weight back toward heels, then allow 4 points in foot to receive equal pressure firm pressure down, pelvic tilt under as ribs knit inward (not too much do not release the natural curve of lower back do not grip the buttocks), simultaneously lift throughout abdomen chest lengthen through top of head, spiral inner thighs back as if squeezing a block in-between the inner thighs. Press down through legs equally. Notice pressure in feet. Is the pressure equal? If hands by side utilize them with downward energy or place hands at heart in Anjali Mudra.
Tadasana can shift the mood...
Internal forces, such as our mental state, influence our posture. For example, if we feel fatigued, defeated, or depressed, we might stand in Tadasana with slumped shoulders and a collapsed chest. Conversely, the form that we create with Tadasana influences our mental state. This relaxed yet open heart position counteracts a defeated and slumped posture in both body, mind and spirit.
Mula (root) Bandha
(moo-LAH BAHN-dah) Root Lock, performed by contracting and lifting the area bounded by the tailbone, pubic bones, and sitting bones. On a basic level used to strengthens the pelvic floor muscles that help keep the lower end of the sacrum from lifting and the lower pelvic bones from spreading apart.
(oo-dee-YAH-nah BAHN-dah) uddiyana = upward (cf. ud = “up, upwards”) bandha = binding, tying a bond, fetter; putting together, uniting, contracting, combining; mundane bondage, attachment to this world (as opposed to emancipation, mukti or moksha).
The pelvic floor is an important aspect to our yoga practice, strength and flexibility is key. Creating a steady stream or pathway for energy to flow smoothly up the torso (via the main Nadis that intertwine Ida and Pingala running up the Shushuma). This upward flow is not accomplished by squeezing the abdominal muscles hard but rather by facilitating soft space of upward momentum (felt more so in forward bending, not as easy to recognize in asana where the core muscles are engaged i.e. warrior I and II), by releasing the abdominal surface muscles it may be easier to go deeper within to find Bandha “lock”. A perfect breath and abdominal movement to discover Uddiyana Bandha is Agni Sara (fire wash) igniting the internal fire.
To find Mula Bandha in women it is the sensation of the Cervices up and in. For men the space between the anus and genitals. An internal awareness that transcends the physical sensation of lifting, it feels more like creating space deep within. Sacred Space available to allow vitality to spiral up the energy lines of the spine (Shushuma). When done correctly Mula Banda and Uddiyana Bandhas create incredible power to move healing energy where it needs to go into the entire body. Enlivening the yoga practice with the seemingly magical power to intergrade our physical layers to the more subtle layers of being.
Keynotes: stabilizing, calming, focus, concentration, softening, movement, flow, vitality, power, and empowerment.
Being able to find and engage Bandhas is a life giving foundation to build upon, once mastered opening the body to absolute perfection of energy flow.
The Bandhas. Tah explores Yoga Anatomy.