Buddhism teaches that the present moment contains the seeds of all things, including liberation from samsara (the world of suffering), and yet we spend most of our lives anywhere but here – anywhere but the present moment.
Once we have entered the yoga room, found our place and begun to create some quiet, there is a moment before practice begins when we stand on our mats, feet planted, arms by our sides, breathing – fully present to the moment before we embark. We call this pose tadasana – standing mountain pose.
This simple posture – a gesture of openness and readiness, a willingness to face what is ahead – can help us bring a deeper awareness to our practice and help us come to the present moment.
Standing firm and as erect as a mountain, with the big toes touching, heels in line with the toes. Distribute your weight evenly over your feet. Your feet are the base of the mountain. Lift the toes and spread them, and then place them onto the floor and relax them. Lift your inner ankles and feel the lightness as your draw yourself upward. Then draw your mind inward and upward.
Pull the knee caps upwards. Control the buttocks by gently rolling the buttocks towards each other. Roll the hip bones forward towards each other and gently cradle the abdomen within. Extend the spine, raise the sternum and work the navel towards the spine, so that the back is not hollowed at the waist. Keep the neck erect, and do not tilt the head forward or backward and look ahead.
Keep the arms alongside the body, fingers towards the floor, and palms toward the body. Keep the shoulders long and soft. Work the shoulder points away from the ears. Stand in this posture and breathe. Feel the balance extend upwards and feel the lightness.
Contraindications and Cautions:
Low blood pressure
Strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles
Firms abdomen and buttocks
Reduces flat feet
You can alter the position of your arms in a variety of ways; for example: stretch the arms upward, perpendicular to the floor and parallel with each other, with the palms facing inward; interlace the fingers, extend the arms straight in front of your torso, turn the palms away, then stretch the arms upward, perpendicular to the floor, so the palms face the ceiling; cross the arms behind your back, holding each elbow with the opposite-side hand (be sure to reverse the cross of the forearms and repeat for an equal length of time).