"Dance until you shatter yourself." -Rumi

Wednesday, January 26, 2011



A while back I got a newsy kind of email from my dear friend Tony who, at the time, had been practicing yoga for about a year. In this email he told me about his breakfast, what he was doing later that evening and about his yoga practice that morning. In the middle of this chatty email he writes this brilliant and beautiful description of tadasana. This, my friends, is what mountain pose is all about:


by Anthony Quaglieri, Ph.D

I actually got my yoga practice in today. It was satisfactory and challenging enough. I move from tadasana to standing poses to forward folds, to backbends to shoulder stand, to head stand preparation, to twists, to savasana. I don't over do it. I just do my best in each pose. I'm building a separate tadasana practice. I've added on another minute. I stand in an engaged tadasana for 4 minutes, and by the 3rd minute I am in another land, breathing and holding the pose. I still think it's the hardest pose - being a conduit between the center of the earth and the center of heaven, opening myself as an aligned channel of energy between two points. Engaging each foot completely on the ground in a willing marriage of non-gripping contact. Exerting equal effort in planting down while rising up. Isn't this what we want from life? To be completely engaged with that which nurtures/supports us while fully rising up at the same time, reaching for the sky with our crown chakra? Why shouldn't this be the most effort of all? To be simultaneously engaged with the fully known ground and the unknown vastness of the sky and all it has to offer, and letting the mind just go and the breath be the engine. I think taking tadasana is the best discipline of all. To keep as much engagement and alignment as I can. When one thing goes, I correct it and then another thing goes and I correct it, and then, maybe for a half second, I have everything engaged and aligned, and I know it in an unattached ego way, I just feel intense pleasure. To let my body float in an effort toward greater alignment in the pose, knowing that there is no pose, just the reaching toward it. This is so powerful, the conscious acceptance that there is nothing to get, just effort toward a best practice in a particular moment in time with a clear earnest intention to do my best and see where it takes me. To let go of waiting for the alarm to go off and turn it INSTEAD into 'how much more time do I have to see if I can keep my knees and chest lifted, my shoulders broad and my feet engaged - how much more time do I have to be in this effort to rise up and perhaps have a second of effortlessness, where I just 'be' without wanting to be somewhere else - without waiting for the 4 minute alarm to go off - without having to remind myself to breathe - without caring if I'm doing a good job. What a life lesson is one pose.

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