The foundation pose of our practice, the body completely balanced, calm, steady and focused. Yet, it often turns into fidgeting, hair flicking, clothes adjusting and general lack of focus.
For some reason this pose is neglected and almost discounted by many students and sometimes even teachers! So lets give it some love and really get to grips with it.
- Standing at the front of the mat, feet together, big toe joints touching, heels slightly apart.
- Spread the toes without gripping the floor, weight evenly distributed through the points of the feet, arches lifted. (yogi toes)
- There is a feeling of grounding into the floor, whilst growing and extending through the body, as though the crown of the head is attatched to an imaginary string from the ceiling.
- Firm the thighs without locking the knees (be extra careful if you have hyperextended knees) Gently rotate the upper thighs towards the centre line and lift the kneecaps.
- Balance the pelvis in a neutral position, as though you have a bowl of water in the pelvis and you don’t want to spill it.
- Draw the front ribs in, whilst lifting the sternum towards the sky – opening the chest and widening the collarbones.
- Roll the shoulders down and back to relax them and allow them to sit with ease and avoiding excessive downward motion. Shoulder blades slide down the back.
- Let the arms hang naturally, with energy throughout, all the way to the fingertips.
- Keep the neck long and chin parallel to the floor. Drishti can vary depending upon the school but a forward, neutral position with a soft gaze is common.
so…what’s samasthiti? Is it the same as tadasana? If you’ve ever attended an Astanga class you will definately have heard this term. Many student don’t really know the difference and it never seems to be explained! Basically Tadasana is the name of the asana, whereas Samasthiti is more the essence of the asana – the focus. Samasthiti roughly translates as ‘establishing an equal and steady posture’… Personally I believe Tadasana should always be Samathiti. That focus on balance and stability should always be emphasised to keep the medatative quality to the flow. This emphasis would eliminate the tendency for students to unwittingly use it as more of a pit stop – just a little break, where all focus is lost.