This past week life gave me a gift, the pleasure and honour of working with 3 inspirational yoga teachers. Tracey Rohan-Irwin, the director of Shades of yoga who has inspired me with her passion and love for not only yoga but also enneagram. Restuning Sandini, yoga master who has embodied the yoga lifestyle from inception! And last but not least, Jolie Manza, anatomy guru extraordinaire.
So what is the most valuable lesson I learned from these 3 exceptional yoga teachers? It was simple. It was basic. It was the most powerful and insightful yoga lesson I’ve had to date. Are you ready for this?
Tadasana is a window.
Tadasana tells you where the body is and what the body needs.
Tadasana tells you what state the mind is in today.
Tadasana, if you look close enough, can give you a glimpse into the soul.
Observing this month’s group of students on day one of the 200 RYT teacher training, for only a minute, each came away with insight on each and every student. Insight into the body. Insight into the mind. Insight into the soul.
Before looking at the stories the body tells us in Tadasana, let’s start with the basics. Let’s start with the body, the posture, the cues.
Legs – The Foundation
Feet shoulder width apart. Spread the toes. Ground them firmly into the mat. Engage the thighs drawing the knee caps up. This is the foundation of our mountain. This is the connection into the ground. The root. The base.
Torso – The Core
Tail bone drawn down. Core engaged. Ribcage drawn back. Shoulders back and down.
Arms – The Wings
Arms straight and engaged. Fingertips drawing down, lengthening and strengthening the arms.
The Head – The Pinnacle
Neck lengthens. Head reaching up towards the sky. Find your focus point, find your dristhi.
Bandhas – The Lock
Engage Mula Bandha. Engage Uddiyana Bandha. Engage Jalandarabandha.
Energy. Lock. On.
As you cue the pose, as you watch bodies engage the muscles, engage bandhas, as you watch the dristhi settle in, the subtle changes as the bandhas lock what can you see through the window of Tadasana?
Is there any hyper-mobility? Look at the knees, the elbows, the fingers.
Look at the posture; the spine, the shoulders, the neck. Can you tell how many students have a desk job? Look at the spine, the shoulders. Are the shoulders hunched? Is the thoracic spine (middle/upper back) hunched (kyphosis)? Are the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back) compensating by curving inwards towards the front of the body plane (lordosis)?
How present are they in the posture? Is the foundation strong? Is the core engaged? Are the wings ready to fly? Is the pinnacle reaching to the sky? Are the locks engaged? Are they focussed? Are they fidgety? Are they here?
Hunched shoulders and an overly curved thoracic spine may mean a desk job for the body. But what does it mean for the soul? For the soul this is often a sign of being closed. When the shoulders are hunched forward what are we protecting? What are we constricting? The heart and the lungs.
What is your Tadasana window showing you today?
Go on. Stand up. Be present. Ask yourself what it is telling you about your body, your mind and your soul.
The best place to start seeing what the window of Tadasana can show you is yourself.