Well hello there! Happy Groundhog Day!
Since we are focusing on the head this month, I thought it'd be fun to take it back to the basics for February's first few poses before we step it up a notch later this month. As such, today's focus is on Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and Staff Pose (Dandasana). Now I know I don't normally include two poses in one month so consider this your lucky day! These two poses are just so similar (Staff Pose is basically the seated version of Mountain Pose) and they are the foundation for so many other poses that it only made sense to cover them at the same time. I also think it's SO important to learn the correct alignment of your head with your spine/shoulders/hips/ankles before turning upside and playing with poses on your head.
How to Get There
Most times, it's easier for us to understand what correct alignment looks like if you see yourself doing a pose incorrectly and then correctly. This is definitely the case with Tadasana and Dandasana! When yogis hear the cue, "Stand tall" or "Sit tall", they often overcompensate a slouching position with an overly puffed-out chest, almost always accompanied by some booty popping.
Below you see an overly slouched Mountain Pose on the left and a puffed-out chest and popped booty on the right (my brother-in-law insists this is how women should walk around regularly and I could not disagree more - this is a recipe for chronic lower back pain!!!). The middle picture is the correctly aligned Mountain Pose - see how my entire body is centered along the crown of my head? My shoulders are relaxed and my spine is at its natural curve. I'm not tucking my tailbone under or popping it out. This same alignment holds true for Staff Pose, too, and I've shown you what it looks like to slouch in Staff Pose since I see this all the time.
I don't think we've come across a single pose yet where I haven't talked about the shoulders. Almost always, you want to try to relax your shoulders, which will inevitably invite relaxation into the rest of your body. Think about it: how could you possibly relax if you've got your shoulders all tense and hugging up to your ears, completely drowning out your beautiful neck?? Bottom line: Relax. :)
So now that we've got some basics to master before going upside down, Friday's post will be about a similar base pose, Lotus, and I'll include some tips throughout on giving some TLC to your head and neck before moving into any inversions.
Happy Monday, all! And if you're interested, Punxsutawny Phil will be making his predictions on Winter's end around 7:20 AM EST. You can watch it online here. You're welcome!
I’m Anahita Reilly, a Type-A, native Northern Virginian, happiness lover. This blog evolved out of my longstanding desire to share this beautiful thing called yoga with others. Click here to read more...