Tadasana – Samasthiti
The message from BKS Iyengar has always been twofold: align the pose and let consciousness come. For some such as me, however, learning alignment has been such a task that finding awareness of consciousness has been even more elusive than the turn of a femur. At some point, I gave up even trying.
To the San Diego yoga conference named for the universality of yoga, senior Iyengar teacher Birjoo Mehta brought us a how-to message, a map any individual can follow to find that consciousness in a pose…
Tadasana is like the unchanging self at the center of all our fluctuations. It is the touchstone, the place of quiet at the center of a practice. The other poses all become variations. The key to envisioning this is in the name samasthiti: sama – same; sthiti – steadiness.
To find the quiet within fluctuations of other poses, Birjoo directed us to bring an element of tadasana to each pose.
In utthita trikonasana, Birjoo suggested we maintain the back leg actions of tadasana in both front and back legs as we slowly lowered into the pose. A surprising kind of steadiness resulted; a quiet, unfluctuating mind translated to a pose that felt grounded.
In bharadvajasana, once we had turned the torso, Birjoo asked us to recreate the evenness of torso found in tadasana. Once again quietness descended.
We touch back to universality when we bring samasthiti to other poses.