Tadasana is the simple standing foundation posture in the hatha yoga practice. It is the beginning and the end. The atom and the galaxy. The man in the image above is in a variation of Tadasana.
Some days, I get on the mat and it just seems like I don’t feel like doing anything. But, I’ve committed to my practice, and while I definitely have periods of it falling away, I know that the root of the empowerment in yoga is DISCIPLINE. I’ve learned over the years that forcing myself to do things that I don’t want to do (a very old school idea of discipline) seldom yields a good result. Instead it generates a deep rift in my relationship to myself. I am forcing myself to do something I don’t want to do. That, is not the kind of seed I want to plant. Perhaps understanding where I am will reveal what my next steps are. So….Tadasana.
I stand in Tadasana. I am amazed at how quickly I am aware of the imbalance in my physical body and I question how long I’ve been IN the imbalance and not been aware of it until now. When I began practicing in 1993, I may not have perceived it so quickly. My weight is forward in the balls of my feet. I am projecting myself into the future – which is a fancy way of saying “fear”. Of course I am. And at this moment in time, it’s likely that you are too! In the fast emerging post-Covid economy we are all grasping at a secure future.
Security can never come from a fear-based foundation – at least from the perspective of yoga philosophy. Security comes from nurturing a sense of security. From a yogic perspective that kind of thinking creates difficult scenarios. Projecting into the future doesn’t place us in the right position to make wise decisions.
I examine the weight distribution shifting front and back. The balance point eludes me. I recognize in the imbalance, a pattern. The front right corner of my right foot lifts and weight shifts into my left heel. What would create balance here? I consider that Trikonasana, the triangle, provides opportunities to explore the connection to the earth differently. I have nothing to lose, so I try it, and then back to Tadasana. The imbalance has diminished, but it’s still not easy to stay centered front and back in tadasana. I try Vriksasana, tree posture, and my hip emits a little pop. Back to Tadasana. Wallah!! Tadasana arises like a mountain, stable, uplifted and free. The energy flows through my body and insight arises about why I am here and what I am doing. I am pulled to meditate and reminded of the power of asana to set the stage for meditation by liberating energy. Asana nurtures clarity vs. delusion, which is more common that we might think. It’s been a big day in my personal yoga practice – all emerging from shifting into the “now” of balanced weight distribution.
Patanjali Yoga Sutra (an ancient text on yoga) sutra 4.33, “The sequential progression of moments is understood at the final end of it’s changes” teaches this power of each present moment as points of creation. My lived experience of this teaching is that at the end of a series of moments we see how we arrived at a destination. I’ve found that this arises as a clear vision of every pivotal decision I’ve made which contributed to the outcome that I am experiencing. When this understanding arises it is always amazing, although not always cheerful. It’s a way of owning that we responsible we are for our lives. Painful as this may seem, only through this awakening process can we transcend the perception of ourselves as victims, and thus become active creative agents.
This month we consider moving through transitions in this mindful present tense kind of way. It’s not that we don’t have goals, I know when I’m transitioning from down dog to plank that I’m aiming for a plank, but it is the way I position myself in each microsecond of that transition which builds the plank that I will find myself in.
I think it’s no accident that the heroes of the great Indian epics are archers. Imagine having such a sense of vision of the pathway to a target that you could accurately set up your bow and arrow in such a way that oncoming winds would work in your favor!! Magnificence! Our lives are no different. The present moment by moment awareness of the multitude of choices that we make every single minute of every single day….taking OWNERSHIP of that decision-making power, is a choice of great consequence and a fertile field for creativity.
With love and blessings
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