Maybe you are interested in yoga, but you’re not sure where to start.
One of my roles as a yoga instructor with a background in healthcare is to provide accessible options to suit different bodies in an effort to reduce barriers to participating in yoga.
In this blog post, I break down one of my favourite grounding yoga postures: Mountain Pose, also known as Tadasana.
This is a great posture to incorporate into your daily routine to train good posture and practice diaphragmatic breath as a way to calm the nervous system. Research has also suggested that practicing this pose daily not only improves your posture when you are in the pose, but influences your posture as you go about the other activities of your day. We are laying down pathways in the nervous system to establish a neutral position so that it becomes second nature.
I encourage you to focus more on the qualities of the posture and how being in the pose makes you feel, and place less of an emphasis on what the pose looks like. You can access this posture either standing with your feet directly together or apart.
Feel the ground beneath your feet – spread your toes and shift your weight until you feel equal pressure under the balls and heels of both feet.
Imagine that this rooting into the earth is creating a foundation for you to rise from; draw up the quadricep muscles on the thighs, hugging muscle around bone, feel the knee caps lift toward the sky.
Press the tip of the tailbone toward the floor, lifting slightly through the front of the pubic bone.
Draw the belly button toward the spine with 10% effort – enough to feel some containment of the abdomen, but not so much that it impedes the breath.
Feel the paraspinal muscles running along either side of the spine engage as you soften the shoulders away from the ears, and open up the front of the chest. It may feel nice here to turn the palms open or alternatively, allow your arms to hang loosely by your sides.
Tuck your chin slightly to pull your head in line with the rest of your spine and soften the muscles of your face.
Close your eyes.
Bring your attention to your breath and the way it moves in and out of the chest, following its steady rhythm as you slow the pace of your inhales and exhales.
Begin to drop the breath down into the abdomen – the chest muscles stay quiet as the belly does most of the work. Inhales, you feel the belly expand and broaden. Exhales, you feel the belly soften yet contract.
Be here in stillness as you embody the qualities of a mountain – strong, sturdy, unwavering, rooted. Lean into your ability to take up space and allow that to translate to your confidence stepping into the world.