Today the yoga pose of Tadasana is my altared space. I love the power to simply stand erect, toes forward, knees and hips aligned, shoulders placed on my back, ribs and belly hugging toward my spine. When I began yoga, the power of this pose escaped me. I just stood there, schlumpadinka style.
Now Tadasana is my temple. I want to find Tadasana in every yoga pose I do. It is the fabulously unique Ross Rayburn that introduced me to this idea of finding the Tadasana in my backbend and triangle pose. No matter how tangled I get, there is a temple of center to be found.
I practice yoga on a small mat with utter devotion so that my larger life will know I was quiet for a time.
When the rice is boiling over because I’m distracted thinking about a work deadline and answering the phone, the dog barks because someone is knocking at my door and my son is determined to get me to listen: these are the moments I live in a triangle pose. I’m tangled and off center.
As I stand in Trikonasana on my mat, I imagine myself to Tadasana. I think about my feet. Can I press the four corners of my foot to the mat even if my feet are not parallel? Even if I cannot do it, I can imagine that I can. Instantly, energy races up my leg and I feel muscles engaging I hadn’t known before.
Can I bring my shins together just as I do in Tadasana? It takes some mind bending, but yes, and once again, a shift takes place; this time the awareness is in my pelvis which rises up an inch. Can I open my inner thighs? Again, the answer comes as does the expansion in my pelvis which now experiences the room for Grace that was previously trapped.
My heart opens further as I secure my shoulder blades on my back, bring my ribs and bellybutton toward my spine and then allow my skin to melt. With the security of fundamentals, my skeleton is in place and my heart feels the freedom to expand skyward. My pose soars into outer space.
The temple of Tadasana was hidden in a triangle.
I can find it in pigeon pose and a backbend as well. My temple of center is with me wherever I go, but I must remember to look for it. When the chaos of boiling rice, work deadlines, and barking dogs all descend simultaneously, as happens frequently in life, it is my practice imagining these moments that carry me through.
I tangle myself up in yoga so that I can practice finding my way to center; even when it feels confusing. When the pathway to my left heel is a bit of a maze it prepares me for the moments when the rice boils over and I’m confused about what to do next. What is most important?
I think about gravity and the wonderful promise it provides to hold me firmly to planet earth. I pour myself into that abundant stronghold and simultaneously surrender to what I cannot see.
Later today when the rice boils over I may or may not be able to think about my feet. I may or may not be able to focus on my breath. But over time, the temple of Tadasana will work on me, bringing me toward the center of who I am no matter how tangled the limbs of life become.
What makes you get tangled into a triangle pose? How do you find your center again?
This photo is of the altar at Ross Rayburn’s workshop in Vail, Colorado.