Bring strength and stability into your life
The mountain pose
In the 3rd of my blogs about balance, I thought I would look at the importance of muscles to help us stay upright.
Posture is a great reflection of how we balance. In our classes we spend time, every lesson, getting you stand correctly, in Tadasana (the mountain pose). We guide you through your body, ensuring that you are stood in alignment. This is so important, it gives us time to find the perfect balance for our physical body, which then naturally eases the mind and emotions back into balance too.
Why not try now, standing with your feet hip width apart…..take some time to enjoy these prompts….
Feel the connection that your feet make with the earth, weight equally distributed left and right, allowing the big toes to extend forwards from the centre of the foot, putting roots into the earth, strengthening the arches.
Soften your knees, let that strong softness ripple upwards to your pelvis, no need to be rigid and locked. Feel the position of your pelvis, draw the pelvic floor up towards the spine, gently drawing the flesh away from your underwear, as you separate your tummy from your rib cage. Pause there focussing on the expansion of your spine.
Roll your shoulders back and down, allowing them to relax away from your ears, fingers gently curled. Feel this gently open the chest as your sternum lifts. Feel the breath flowing freely from the abdomen into the chest. Inhale. Exhale….
Become aware of the position of your head, is it resting central on your neck? Is your neck relaxed? Tuck in the chin slightly so that the chin is parallel to the floor, top of the head uppermost. Feel into that beautiful lengthening of your spine from your tailbone to the top of the head.
Return your awareness to the soles of the feet again, re-connect with the earth and feel yourself rising tall from your firm foundations.
When we stand in this amazing alignment, we are in perfect balance, it’s the most efficient use of our energy, we are not putting strain on the joints or tiring any muscles. Take time to rest here, let your eyes close so that you can also work your balance “muscle”. How long can you stay here in perfect stillness?
Add to this practice targeted work on strengthening your core stability muscles (deep low abdominal muscles, pelvic floor and lumbar muscles close to the spine), your inner thighs, the outer parts of your buttocks and the muscles of your feet and I think you will notice a huge difference in your ability to balance.
There are plenty of tips for helping you strengthen your core on our website downloads, previous blogs and on Facebook. Squatting positions, triangles, warriors, locust and bow will all help you to strengthen the buttocks and thighs, whilst standing poses help the feet. If you are practicing standing postures, take the time to start in Tadasana (Mountain pose) as described above. This will give you the firm foundations you need to move with strength, grace and stability.
Hope this inspires you to move into some of yoga’s beautiful standing and balancing asanas. It’s a great time of year to be focused on strength building postures too, perfectly balanced with the stillness of just being in Tadasana. Enjoy! Ix