This Month I will break down what seems to be a very simple yoga posture but is actually a multi-dimensional, potentially life changing, experience of standing on two feet.
Here are a few instructions on how to stand in Samasthiti
👉 Stand on two feet (or any other number of feet that you have).
👉 Distribute the weight evenly front and back, right and left, up and down, past and future.
👉 Breathe in a steady even way: Inhale - lengthen upwards, Exhale - press downwards.
What are a few things we can pay closer attention to in Samasthiti?
⭐ Observing how we distribute weight on our feet and find more evenness.
⭐ Developing awareness of the back of the feet, front of the feet, inner and outer edges of the feet and which is more dominant when we stand.
⭐ Considering the tripod structure of the foot. There are three main areas where weight should be put on - the heel, the root (ball mount) of the big toe and the root (ball mount) of the little toe.
⭐ As we press the tripod downward we try to create an opposing (complimenting) lift of the center of the foot, particularly the inner arch, as well as the outer (smaller) arch and the little arch between the base of the big and pinky toes.
⭐ Trying to find a relationship between pressing downwards and lifting upwards, both at foot level as well as the body as a whole.
⭐ Observing posture. Do we tend to drop the tailbone down excessively? or the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis? or maybe there is a bias towards the right or left side? Try to relax both shoulders and gently lengthen the back of the neck.
⭐ Keeping the heart open and the ribcage soft.
⭐ Balancing opposing forces - up and down, right and left, front and back, and.. past and future.
Here are some questions that may pop up regarding Samasthiti
⓵ Why aren't you calling it Tadasana?
In some yoga schools this pose is called 'Tadasana' (mountain pose), in others 'Tadasana' is used to describe another posture. We can definitely take some inspiration from the qualities of a mountain into this pose but I like the emphasis on balance and evenness more. To sum it up, call it whatever you want it doesn't really matter:)
⓶ How far apart should my feet be and which angle should they turn to?
Just like all yoga postures there is no "one size fits all". Some schools of yoga may present yoga postures as generic mechanical structures that we need to fit but the reality is that every human being is different in many ways, we have unique joints, muscles, genes, anatomical structure and personality.
Therefore - arrange your feet in a way that:
➜ Doesn't cause any pain or discomfort particularly in the knees or hip.
➜ Creates a stable foundation.
➜ Allows for even distribution of weight with minimum effort.
⓷ How should I position the shoulders?
The number one priority regarding shoulders in all postures where we don't hold weight on our arms is to keep them as relaxed as possible. It could be useful to roll them up towards the ears and then slightly back and let drop into a comfortable position. Arranging the shoulders in this way can open the chest and support a spacious and nourishing breath.
⓸ What about the lower back?
Keep it relaxed as well. There is a natural curve at the lumbar spine area (lower back), make sure you don't eliminate it by excessively tucking the tailbone, but also don't exacerbate it by over arching the back.
Important side note!
Take the principles and insights from Samasthiti and apply them to all standing postures!
You can embark on further investigation of these poses and more in any of the weekly classes or join the Masterclass for a more in-depth overview. Sign up here!