The impetus and growth spurt of Aries has given rise to a sense of security and solidity— the realm of Taurus. The qualities of the season can be cultivated for benefits to the mind and body—a sense of grounding, immersion in sensation, and a call for self expression with the voice as Taurus rules the throat.
After the monochrome of winter, the color green begins arriving in full lavish style— patches of ochre ground daily grow more verdant, buds are unfurling. Birdsong arrives at the light of day. The smell of the earth thawing and fragrance of daffodils all lift the spirit and indulge us in the realm of the senses. We made it!
In homage to the nascent spring season, here is one yoga post that will ground and nourish your sense of having arrived in a newly born and fulfilling season. Let’s find our ground with Mountain Pose.
Tadasana (or Mountain Pose), according to B. K. S. Iyengar, is one of the most difficult yoga postures to master. It is a fundamental pose of yoga, but isn’t just for beginners. It utilizes all the muscles of the body and provides a basis for other standing poses. This posture can be done quietly while waiting in a check out line or even while siting. How can that be? It is the awareness brought to the body and the focus on the muscles and alignment that provide the most benefit, not merely standing up straight.
This pose is excellent for bringing awareness to your posture while opening the upper chest and heart. It is a great grounding pose, providing stillness to experience the breath.
Take off your shoes and socks. Find a nearby wall and stand with your back against it with your heels an inch from the baseboard. Check in with your body at the wall: Do your shoulders automatically align above your hips or do they round forward? It is surprising how slumped we can become from winter inactivity, desk work, or texting . Pull your shoulders back. As the chest lifts, you should feel the lengthening of your torso and a slight arch in your lower back. The back of your head will touch the wall, but make sure to tuck the chin, so that it isn’t protruding up and forward.
Ears align over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, knees over feet.
Do you FEEL taller, perhaps glimpse a more powerful presence in the moment? Now you have the basic FEELING of Tadasana in the body. Does it feel un-natural to be holding yourself up in this way? Do you feel more supported? More stable? Hold onto the FEELING of this pose in the body as you transition from the wall to your yoga mat. Although, a mat isn’t necessary. The most necessary accessory for yoga is your awareness—so really, you can do this pose anywhere.
If you arrive on your mat, great! If not, take it from where ever you are. Bring your awareness to your feet which should be hip width apart. Spread your toes and plant them firmly.
Invite yourself to feel the connection to the Earth that your feet are making. Bring awareness to the four corners of the feet: ball joint of the big toe, ball joint of the small toe and each corner of the heel. Feel the distribution of your weight evenly over these four corners of the feet. This brings awareness to the foundation of our posture. This is the base of your mountain. Your base provides the firm foundation necessary for the structure of the mountain—your legs and torso — to reach the summit—your crown.
Imagine drawing energy up from the earth through the arches of the feet into the legs, up into the torso and to the summit—your head. The top of the thighs have a slight inner rotation in towards each other.
For even better alignment instead of tucking your tail bone, try this suggestion by Judith Hanson Lasater from her article, “Respect Your Curves,” the March /April 2019 edition of Yoga Journal:
“…instead of tucking, move your top thighs back so 2/3 of your weight is on the back 1/3 of your feet. Slightly internally rotate your thighs and invite your pubic bone to move down toward your feet. This is the opposite of tucking and encourages the natural shape of your spine.”
In the torso, the shoulder blades move together and down the back. Bring your awareness to your posture: head over heart, heart over pelvis, pelvis over knees, knees over feet.
Let your arms hang naturally by your side with palms turned in toward the body or turned outward. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so. If you feel dizzy doing this, pick a focus point or ‘drishti’ and let your gaze softly fall a few feet on the ground in front of you.
Once you have the alignment, settle into the FEELING of the energy circulating, while also FEELing supported and grounded, with the upper body carried by the foundation you have set. Of course, let your breath rise and fall in a natural rhythm and allow yourself to settle into the pose for a few minutes.
Even better to get full benefit of this pose, do this outside, near moving water, or if inside, fire up the diffuser with earth essential oils, put on some bird song or water music, and soak in the senses. In this Taurus season, let the Earth support you.