To climb a mountain is a metaphor for doing the work necessary to achieve what we want, to be who and where we want to whether it be the summit or some other place, it is important that we point ourselves in the direction that we want to go. A friend used to say, “If you want to go to the seaside but keep ending up in the dessert, maybe you’re taking the wrong road. You need to change direction.” When you stand in Tadasana, in fact it is important that your feet be pointing in the same direction that you are standing. This is the beginning of building the pose from the ground up. As we’ve said, a mountain doesn’t begin as the level of the ground around it, it is in fact part of that ground. So, as you establish your connection with Mother Earth, feet parallel for a moment, lift just your toes and press down through the balls of your feet. Chances are you will feel a response , a sense of the muscles hugging the legs. Feel this muscle energy embracing the structure. You may also want to make fists then release letting your fingers spread. Then relax into the core , an invitation to find the alignment, without effort. Can you feel a sense of an energetic lifting or rising up. Vanda Scaravelli who practiced and taught yoga well into her 90’s talks of AWAKENING THE SPINE. She speaks of having an ‘intelligent heart’, not trying to become but rather being. “When we are upright, the pull of gravity is from the waist down. You feel a pull. The earth pulls you down. If you are relaxed and if you are attentive with the body, you feel it. You let the body be sucked by the earth and this is gravity. At the same time the upper part becomes light, open, aware, relaxed… It gives a sense of authority, of freedom, of beauty.” When we feel the force of gravity it is an embrace from our Mother Earth who supports and sustains. She is a nurturing mother who both holds us and lets us rise upwards towards the stars. This is the essence of mountain pose. Tada- once again, a celebration of the moment and being present where we are. That is Tadasana which prepares us for all the other standing poses and reveals this force within us, the more we are connected to the earth the more freedom we have to grow and reach for the stars, the heavens within express and rise to touch the sky and you are the mountain rises from the earth . Tomorrow perhaps we’ll speak of the cave of the heart, the core that truly sustains.
Mountain photo courtesy of Silva Pahor