It is something to be experienced at least once.
|Centred Yoga Mysore Room – Silence|
There is magic in the promise of the quiet time ahead, for 1.5/2 hours, in the commitment to being present with the body, finding where it hurts, noticing the places where we stop (for example before three back bends in a row because we are scared). In that space we learn about our mental processes, we learn about not just how we do our asana practice but how we conduct our lives.
This is the beauty of self-practice. We learn by doing, no directions involved. Rather we experiment in our inner lab, we play with the only instrument we have to access the divine behind everything.
Pattabhi Jois in Tadasana
In the first couple of years of practice Tadasana was, for me, an embarrassing pose. I did not like how my inner thighs touched while other beautiful yogis had space between them, and in my mind, looked ‘better than me’. This is not a reflection of the pose but of my mental state at the time. It was not a good one, it was leading to eating disorders.
Eventually through visiting many teachers, taking many more silent classes, and practicing on my own, I came to understand how the balance on the four corners of the feet was of tremendous importance not only to how I would balance throughout the rest of the practice, which was a revelation in itself, but also throughout the rest of the day.
Noticing that, Samastitihi (Tadasana) became a more important pose, and not any longer one that I dismissed as if it was just a painful thing to ‘get over and done with as quickly as possible’.
|B.K.S. in Tadasana|
These days my understanding of Tadasana is deeper, I am in complete awe at seeing the prana and apana (upward and downward forces) within he body at play as I balance in the four corners of the feet, engage the quads, tighten the perineum (mula bandha), lift up my sternum, pull my belly in and up (uddyana bandha), lift the chin up, look peacefully along the sides of my nose, relax the muscles of the shoulders and face, find balance, chest buoyant.
Then there is the deep play of the lower body gathering energy from what seems to be the center of the earth and flowing upwards while the head levels the cosmic energy and brings it downward. Both meeting in the center of my solar plexus. I feel the energy moving. I feel the breath beginning to warm my body. I feel concentration happening.
There is SO MUCH within this very first, seemingly non-important pose, that I find myself in gratitude that I can practice it. I wonder what practitioners who have done it even longer than me discover.
And if we are lucky we might at some point be able to navigate our deep fall into a state of silence without waking up any of the talking monsters that live in our minds, and experience a state of “at-one-ment”. We just might.