Find Your Footing in Tadasana

I was at my chiropractor’s office a few weeks ago for my “tune-up”. I’ve been busier with massage lately and wanted to keep myself primed and ready for work. Dr. Dave suggested maybe it was time to consider orthotics, as most of his massage therapist patients and people who are on their feet all day seem to benefit from them at one point or another.

He asked me to step up on a scanner barefoot and to stand “normally”. For me that meant assuming the stance of Tadasana, Mountain Pose. I quickly sensed different points of contact between my feet and the scale, and energetically lifted the arches. My thighs rolled in and my whole posture lifted and straightened. Then we scanned my feet.

My Tadasana Feet

My Tadasana Feet

Brightly colored images of my feet appeared on the screen, like they’d been tie-dyed. Dr. Dave then turned to me with a very serious look on his face. He said, “In 15 years of practicing, I’ve never seen feet like this.” OMG! My hypochondriac mind was steeling itself for the worst and started over thinking: I’ve massaged barefoot for too long. I’m falling apart. That’s it, it’s all over.

“These are the best feet I’ve ever seen!” was the next sentence out of the doctor’s mouth. “There’s hardly any collapsing in the arches. They look great.”

tadasana

Tadasana, Mountain Pose

Ah, thank you, Tadasana! It’s one of those humble poses that we tend to zip through as a transition, rather than really spending time engaged in the pose. But the principles of alignment we learn in Tadasana form the foundation of every pose to follow, and the foundation of Tadasana is the feet.

Find Your Tadasana Feet:

  • Stand with your feet under the hips. Bring your awareness to your feet and take a breath into them, feeling them contact the floor.

  • Pick up the toes, wiggle them, spread them out, then set them back down.

  • Now ground down through four points around the foot: base of the big toe, base of the pinkie toe, inner heel, and outer heel, and feel the arches lift in response.

  • The toes find more length and freedom.

All this lifting transfers up the legs into the pelvis, allowing the sacrum to lengthen down and the belly to lift. The sides lengthen and you get more space to breathe and for your organs to function. And who doesn’t want that?

Tadasana is the first posture I ever learned, although I think the instructions were pretty basic: Stand tall like a mountain. I later learned the subtleties of the feet and how profoundly they can affect your posture.

You can practice Tadasana virtually anywhere you find yourself standing: in line at the post office, at a concert, at the grocery store…notice how changing your posture can change your mood and energy levels. Over time you’ll get used to standing in Tadasana and it will become your default posture. And it all starts with the feet.

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2 Comments

  1. kwarren1970 said,

    December 6, 2012 at 1:15 am

    This is great! I love Mountain Pose. For my Tuesday class, I always start in Mountain and I cue from the mat up. Glad to hear mountain pose pays off!

  2. somaheal said,

    December 6, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Yay! If you have any cues you think work well with your students to help them find Tadasana, I’d love to hear them. It’s such an unappreciated pose.


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