Our Emotional Life is Housed Not Only in Our Brain, but Also Our Body

A brand new feature of the blog will be a monthly yoga post. The intention is to focus on one asana (or pose) each month. Modifications for the pose will be mentioned, as well as potential psychological ways to utilize the pose. The idea being that our emotional life is housed not only in our brain but also our body. That’s why we clench our teeth or fists when we’re experiences emotions such as stress, anger or anxiety, as one example. I will not be using pictures to demonstrate the pose because I want you to embrace your expression of the pose, rather than fit yourself into someone else’s model of it. Of course, if you ever get truly lost on my pose description, you can always do a search and you’ll find plenty of images to capture the concept. I hope you enjoy this new series on the blog.

Tadasana/Mountain Pose Instructions

The is one of the first poses we all learn, but it wasn’t until yoga teacher training that I feel in love with this asana. It’s so simple, yet can have so many nuances and to me feels powerful and evokes feelings of stability and strength.

Instruction: Stand and start with your feet hip width apart. Let’s first pay attention to a triangle of support on the bottoms of our feet with one tip being the pad of the foot located below the big toe, the pad of the foot below the pinky toe and your heel. These three points form your triangle of support for this and all standing poses. So start by playing around with these supports points and trying to distribute your support evenly among these points. We also want to spread our toes as that provides more base support as well. Here is where you may also tweak how wide you step your feet. It may feel more steady to step your feet in a little bit more to a more narrow stance or out a little bit wider. Find your sweet spot of stability with your feet.

As we move up the legs, always keep a micro-bend in the knees and if you’re someone who tends to lock their knees or if you’re double jointed and hyperextend your knees a lot, this will be an important reminder in all standing poses. Micro-bending the knees allows us to engage our leg muscles a bit more. When I say micro-bend, I don’t mean a significant bending that’s even visbible by others. If you straighten your legs and lock your knees and then come out of it, that’s your micro-bend.

Next we’ll make sure we’re not jutting our hips forward or backward, but that they’re in a neutral position, stacked above our legs. Sometimes it helps to feel the neutral position, by gently moving our hips forward and backward in order to understand the contrast. Again, it’s important to pay attention to what feels stable and solid, because we’re becoming a mountain.

We’ll be checking our ribs and shoulders similarly to what we did with the hips. See if the ribs are popping out and if so then tuck them in a little. If the shoulders are up by the ears or forward or pulled back, let’s gently roll them around to allow them to relax and find that stable neutral position.

Head should be looking forward, neck muscles relaxed and not tense. Arms are down by your side with fingers spread, palms facing forward. Arm muscles are not tense and stiff, but engaged and not limp. Let’s also be aware of a tendency to lock our elbows and again allow a micro-bend in the elbow, just as we did with the knees.

Seated Tadasana/Moutain Pose Option

If sitting is a better option for you in Tadasana, then start your focus on getting your support and base stability from your sit bones rather than the bottoms of your feet. This may include gently moving some of the flesh away from your buttock area for a more acute sense of steadiness grounded from your seat. Following the instructions for the upper body above, if that is accessible to you.

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Karin Lawson

2312 Wilton Drive, Suite 22
Wilton Manors, FL 33305