Monday, October 19, 2015

Reducing Anxiety by Being a Mountain

By Janine L. Agoglia

Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is one of the foundation poses in asana practice. Although seemingly simple, you are merely standing on two feet, it is a very powerful pose when done properly.

Creating a stable, secure standing pose, such as Tadasana, will create more stability in your physical body, allowing you to ground your mind in the present moment. Anxiety lives in the future, with thoughts like "what if" and "what could be," but in reality, these things may or may not actually come true. When you bring yourself into the present moment, feeling your feet on the ground and connecting to your breath, anxiety drains away and all that is left is peace.

Anxiety often causes a sensation of being untethered, floating without connection or root, feeling out of control. If you stand like a mountain, you are standing firmly on the ground, stable, steady but comfortable and relaxed. Your connection to the earth through your feet makes Tadasana a very grounding, anxiety-reducing pose.  By standing in Tadasana, you re-root to the earth and feel more in control.

Stand with your feet parallel to each other other about 3-4 inches apart. Feel your weight set evenly on both feet. Keeping the knees relaxed, stack your knees over your ankles. If you tend to hyper-extend your joints, your knees should feel very slightly bent. Engage your quadriceps to encourage stabilization of the knees. Stack your hips over your knees, gently activate your bandhas (Mula Bandha--your pelvic floor lifts, like doing a Kegel; Uddiyana Bandha-- two fingers below the navel contracts inward and upward toward your lower back). Your shoulders should stack over your hips, the shoulder blades should move down your back and you want to lift through your heart center. Finally your head should stack over your shoulders.

When you are standing in Tadasana take 5 deep, slow breaths, imagining drawing the air up through your feet to your head, then exhaling back down from your head through your feet. Any time anxiety hits, doing this simple, calming, stabilizing pose can get you out of your head and reconnect you with your body. When you are in your body, anxiety doesn't exist.

Janine L. Agoglia has been teaching Vinyasa yoga since 1998. Her yoga journey started in 1995 with Iyengar Yoga and she discovered Vinyasa yoga in 1997. The combination of breath with proper body alignment is what fuels Janine's practice and the classes that she teaches. She believes that yoga should be safe as well as challenging, creative and fun. She always emphasizes proper alignment within the flow, as well as focus, breath and humor to help students find the balance between strength and ease. Deepening one’s physical awareness helps one strengthen his/her spiritual awareness and mind-body connection. Janine loves being able to help people deepen their own practices, finding yoga in everyday life on and off the mat. Her DVD, “Vinyasa Yoga for Regular People” is available for purchase at the front desk at Lumina Mind Body Studios in Wayland, MA.

In addition to being the Co-Director of Yoga and teaching yoga classes at Lumina Mind Body Studios, Janine is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist who practices at Integrative Therapeutics in Natick, MA.

To contact Janine, please email or visit her website,

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