Standing Pose

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Standing pose or as it is called in Yoga, Tadasana; Mountain pose

As you may have already read about the Qiyoda style of Yoga, this pose is considered to be an extremely important foundational pose of Yoga. For Yoga this is new. For martial arts and internal arts it already is. Just think, we practice Yoga to feel more comfortable in life. Why not work to perfect the one pose we do the most of in life; standing. This is one reason why standing and stance work is so important to the martial arts and internal martial arts, they are practiced and used mostly when standing. Then to be able to take that level of perfection and comfort standing and put it into every movement would make moving through life feel pretty amazing. And that comes from experience.

This pose as you may have read can be a guide for creating your person practice. By standing or standing with proper form you can see what it is, in your body, that is keeping you from standing comfortably and strong within the correct alignment of the body. Then you know what you need to do to get to the perfection of this pose.

This is also a great way to build awareness of the body and how it feels in and out of alignment. When practicing to get into alignment a person can develop a sense of being centered. This is a great feeling where you feel grounded yet light, still and calm. You also feel as if you can move in any direction at anytime.

You may be surprised at how hard it may be to stand centered, aligned and balanced. If you are already there then that is awesome. Work to deepen it and strengthen it. Other stances and standing poses can be found in the standing meditation section.

Alignment points:

Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart, feet under the shoulders. Feet should be straight forward and parallel about eight inches apart; feel your feet grounded to the four corners of the room. Think of your feet like hands gripping the floor. Arches should be engaged and there should be a slight lifting from them, more with intention than physically. Lift the toes so you can feel the arches engage and the balls of the feet pressing down into the floor, then relax the toes back to the floor.

Bend the knees slightly and activate the hamstrings up through the pelvic floor to where the buttocks meet the legs. For the pelvis you can let it hang relaxed or you can gently engage your buttocks muscles. I prefer to engage; this is more of a martial art way and in Pilates they call it your butt smile. When your butt is properly engaged the line where your legs meet your butt make a smile. Try to feel yourself pushing into the earth. This will give you a feeling of your muscles working together to stand. Using Tai Chi sinking is good for finding this feeling.

As you bend your knees feel where the muscles in the front of your legs activate, but don’t let your knees pass your toes. Rotate the knees inward slightly but not to go past the inside of your foot. Turn the ankles slightly outward and push lightly with the legs outward to the sides. This should help activate the insides of the legs drawing up from the arches up to the perineum creating an arch.

Pulling in from the lower center and activating the muscles on the front of your torso all the way to the base of the skull through the neck. Just imagine you are pulling the front vertical center of your body into the middle vertical center of the body. Remember, just slightly, activated and relaxed not clenched or contracted. You should also do the same with the backside vertical center of the body, back muscles hugging the spine.

Starting with the tailbone, imagine a weight attached to it and pulling you straight down. Then imagine yourself being lifted by a single piece of string from the crown of the head, elongating the torso. Imagining your Chi moving upward through the body can help with this. In your mind, you want to sink down below your Lower Center and lift above your Lower Center.

To open the chest, lift slightly from the heart and engage the muscles in the back between the shoulder blades, drawing the shoulder blades together. If you stand against the wall, your shoulder blades should lay flat against the wall. Shoulders should be in line with the ears and slightly lifted. Lifting the shoulders slightly allows the blood and Chi to flow more freely; this should happen naturally as you practice standing meditation with your arms up. You can also just let them hang for now if you are beginning.

Move the skull horizontally back in space with the chin tucked in just a little; your jaw should be relaxed and hanging; relax your face and tongue as well. When your jaw is relaxed and you draw your head back you will notice your teeth will touch slightly. The tongue can also be lightly touching the roof of the mouth behind the teeth and relaxed. If you can feel where the head sits on the spine, try to engage the muscles and relax them. This will help you feel the alignment of the head.