Chandni Kapur has been practicing yoga with me (Nadine) for a year and a half. In this article, she shares her love for tadasana (mountain pose). Here she is, reaching for the sky, in tree pose (vrksasana).
“Stretch your hands and feet toward the sky… reach for the stars”
The words of my then yoga teacher when I first learnt Tadasana some 15 years ago still ring a bell. Too easy, I thought at the time. What an easy way to exercise — stretch …stretch… and stretch some more.
As time passed by and I caught up the do's and don’ts of everyday life, Tadasana was no longer important. It was just one of those easy stretches that didn’t feel valuable enough to do because I was after the more rigorous stuff that would cut my belly fat, make it vapourise!
Until last month.
I’ve rediscovered the magical power of Tadasana.
The ever so simple, full body stretch and I’ll tell you why you should let it support you.
A considerable few years of neck, shoulder, back and knee pain and all other sorts of body aches that a 36 year old shouldn’t even know about, have left my body fully misaligned. It mainly meant I was trapped in a vicious cycle of being unable to stretch and exercise. And not helpful that I’m flat-footed, overweight, and have no arches to support my feet and take the weight off my knees and back.
Over the past 1.5 years, Nadine has been helping me (patiently) revive each muscle back into action. It’s been a frustrating journey until earlier this year when I decided to take her advice and be more compassionate to myself. So I listened to every word she said, every muscle movement she explained to me, and started to learn to respond to what my body was telling me.
I needed support. Big time!
I decided to wipe clean all my assumptions and scepticism and just follow what felt good for my body. This meant that I was squeezing my buttocks because I needed those muscles to support my back better. And while I started with some scepticism, it’s now a habitual practice and happens quite unconsciously!
With consistent practice and a more compassionate outlook, I spent one month learning how to raise my feet gradually just a few inches above the ground and enter Tadasana. I vividly remember the early days – staring out to the Westgate Freeway to keep my mind focussed (terrified internally that my knees won’t bear the weight.) As I practiced I felt better, more still and more at ease. Often forgetting I had knees and legs - so fully focussed on the idea of surrendering to the asana.
The next step was crucial – the arches. I had to get those working to take the pressure off my spine and knees.
So, nervously, I followed the instructions and demonstrations. As Nadine patiently kept showing me how to create the arch in my feet, I realised this is such a new concept for my body that I can’t comprehend such a simple thing. It was a humbling moment. The turning point for me was when Nadine broke the instruction down to small tactile cues.
So I focused on the two most important aspects - Toes screwed into the ground and heels dug into the floor. I suspended my intellect.
No fear, no judgement, no analysis.
Just do those two steps and voila I could feel the muscles along my legs and into the buttocks tighten up like a warrior ready for battle.
That’s not just a literary expression, Tadasana has allowed me to create a calm stillness in my body that feels right, feels aligned and feels in control.
While I’m still in awe of the physical stability it gives me, I’m super excited about the clarity it creates.
It’s my best time to visualise, to focus on my intentions and often to let them emerge as I stand empowered. It’s been my answer to my fear of pain and a fantastic support – fully aligned.
Try it – it’s a step into your own power zone.