"Mountain pose teaches us, literally, how to stand on our own two feet.... teaching us to root ourselves into the earth.... Our bodies become a connection between heaven and earth." ~Carol Krucoff
There was a deep, soaking rain storm last Monday night, the kind where it seems like you're standing beneath a great rushing waterfall. Once you've lived through a hot, South Carolina summer, you grow to appreciate any amount of rain that comes in August- the hottest and often driest month of all.
I awoke the next morning to sunshine and cooler temperatures and upon opening the windows, got a whiff of damp earth, sodden pine straw, and fresh, clean air. I was instantly transported to the mountains of my heart, Asheville, NC, and the mountains of my soul, The Rockies in Colorado... earthy goodness and a feeling of steady, solid peace.
Mountains as symbols have a lot to teach us about life. They are often seen as rock solid, stable, standing tall and immovable. They have an abiding presence and stillness - all qualities that we humans seek.
In our asana practice, one of the first postures we are asked to master on a deep level is Tadasana or "mountain" pose. In our quest for more "advanced" postures, we often look upon Tadasana as too "basic" and consider it to be unimportant. However, the reality is that it forms the base of all standing postures, which makes it kind of a big deal (Iyengar is roughly quoted as saying "how can you learn to stand on your head if you can't even stand on your feet?"). Tadasana teaches us how and where to plug in to the earth. It shows us how to find the balance between effort and ease and allows us to be firmly rooted in our physical form which we need to stand firmly, walk surefooted, and be stable in our movements. Being grounded physically also brings a sense of metal mooring to keep us grounded when life is joyful, abundant and happy and also deeply rooted when the strong storms of life descend upon us.
Today, practice paying close attention to how you walk through the world. Are you connected, steady and have an abiding presence, or do you often feel "airy" and untethered? How do you stand while on line at the grocery store? Do you walk through the world looking down at your feet or do you trust your roots and walk tall?
"The body extends upwards, with the base as firm as a rock; the mind is steady and attentive. Tadasana teaches balance, centering and evenness and direction of extensions. These principles apply to all the postures." -BKS Iyengar
In your minds eye, envision your perfect mountain, maybe one with gently sloping sides, or one with lofty, snow capped peaks. Maybe it has one peak or perhaps many. As you move through the day, try to embody the qualities of this mountain. Endeavor to embody its deep abiding presence and solidity no matter what comes your way.
Until next time...
Settling into the posture brings repose. It follows precise placement of the limbs, correct extension and balance. There is peace and unity within. The mind fills every particle of the body, bringing harmony. This is Yoga.