The March Pose of the Month is Tadasana (Tah Dah sa na) or Mountain Pose. This is a foundational pose and, with spring upon us, it seems appropriate to start at the very beginning. This is the pose we starting in for Surya Namaskar (SUR yah NAM ah skar) — Sun Salutaion, which is a very traditional sequence done is most yoga classes.Tadasana is the blue print for so many poses in yoga so even thought it seems simple, it is important to understand what is happening (or should be) happening in this pose.This pose might seem simple but it is active and there is a lot to think about. The whole purpose of the pose is to take a moment to set your alignment, stack the spine, and line up the chakras. It is not just standing in a relaxed way. We are fighting gravity and the oppression of our occupations and day to day tasks. So much of our daily activities today round our upper back: typing on computers and laptops, writing, siting at a desk, sitting anywhere, looking at our phones, cooking, driving, biking, the list go on and on.
My favorite thing about this pose is that we can do it anywhere without looking totally conspicuous. As we stack our bones in the best possible way, taking out the over-exaggerated curvatures of the spine that happen when we are not thinking, we open up our airways. The blood as well as the breath can flow freely. Your breath increases your life force and your chakras flow optimally as well.Another reason I chose this pose because it is a balanced and symmetrical. The Spring Equinox falls in this months where the days and night are equal in length. That means there is just about an equal amount of the sun and moon in our sky each day. Because of this important time of the year, I wanted a pose that was equal on the right and left sides of the body. The right side of are spine is the sun and the left the lunar.
To set it up, either bring you toes together and have heels an inch or so apart so that your feet are parallel which means your heels are right behind 2nd and 3rd toe, or have feet hip width apart and still totally parallel. Lift your toes and spread them wide to widen your platform. Place them back down and ground down into your entire foot. Focus on the four corners of your foot, ground down in big toe, them focus on outer edges of your heals. Next focus on pinky toe and then inner edges of heals. Feel the connection in all parts of the feet with weight balanced on both feet.Your knees should be right above your ankles and under hips. For some of us, when we straighten our legs, our knees are behind ankles and hips. This is called a hyperextension of the knees. If this happens in your body, don’t lock out your knees, instead take a micro bend in the knees to bring them in line with the ankles and hips.Draw tailbone down slightly without exaggerating this motion. Imagine your pelvis is a bowl of water, if it is tilted one way, water will spill out the front (your lower back will have an arch in it). Tilted the other, it will spill out the back (your pelvis is tucked). So imagine that your pelvis, this bowl of water, is positioned so that no water spills out. Turn the palms to face in front of you. This externally rotates the shoulders, taking some of the rounding out of the shoulders and upper back. As you do that, make sure your front ribs, don’t pop out. If they do, draw them back in. Bring your chin in ever so slightly so that your chin is parallel to the floor. Reach the crown of the head to the sky. Lengthen the back of you neck, also part of your spine too.Imagine growing taller. You are indeed lengthening your spine. Root down in your feet. Energy radiates down from the lower half of your body into the floor. Imagine growing roots from your feet, planting you nice and stable. And then energy rebounds up. The crown of the head reaches up on an inhale and as you exhale, soften shoulders away front the ears and reach fingertips to the floor.You can practice this pose while waiting in line at the grocery store, talking to a friend at a party, watching your child’s soccer game. You can do it anywhere and you won’t look nearly as strange as you would if you were practicing Eagle.
So take some time this month to refine Tadasana, the Grandfather of all poses.