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I Am Steady
by Alanna Zabel

 

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Mantra: I Am Steady
Exercise: Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

I attended the Burning Man Festival a few years ago in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  A high percentage of Burning Man attendees spend massive amounts of time and energy creating projects and pieces for this extravagant show and tell. I noted a particularly yogic theme central to this festival: that which rises must pass away.  This is also the core teaching of a Buddhist meditation technique called Vipassana. 

During the course of the week, the temporary community marvels at the infinite and radical creativity of their fellow artists, practices true loving kindness, and celebrates the absolute freedom of expression.  The year I attended, an architect had constructed an extraordinary, massive wooden structure that cost him a quarter of a million dollars to build.  At the end of the week, participants gather around these phenomenal structures and watch as they are burned to the ground.  At the festival's close there is no physical trace left.

Our planet is experienced in many a natural disaster. Yet, we always seem shocked and riveted by the unexpected natural occurrences. Many of us were witnesses to the thousands that were killed and a capital city that was destroyed in Haiti in 2010.  I watched several video clips that were posted by witnesses.  Several of them cried, "the world is ending," and in many ways, aspects of their world did end.  I am very pleased to see the United States immediately responding to this tragedy by sending support, resources and medical care.

What can we learn from this?  How will we be prepared when our world shakes and maybe even begins to crumble?

The yoga posture Tadasana mirrors the reverent stillness, innate strength, majestic power and relaxed stability associated with mountains.  Mountains endure the most extreme of weather conditions, they host travelers of every kind and they continue to persevere.

Many physical benefits result from the proper practice of this pose, including:

- improving one's posture
- reducing flat-footed conditions
- strengthening thighs, lower back, abdomen and ankles
- relieving sciatica

1. Begin standing with your feet together and your big toes touching.
2. Lift and fan all your toes, then drop them down creating a wide solid base.
3. Let your feet and calves root down into the floor.
4. Engage your quadriceps and draw them upward (your knee caps should rise).
5. Rotate both thighs inward and tuck your tailbone in alignment underneath your sacrum.
6. Engage your abdomen, drawing it in slightly.
7. Widen your collar bones and make sure that your shoulders are parallel to your pelvis.
9. Keep your neck long, the crown of the head lifting toward the ceiling, and your shoulder blades pressing down the back.

It may seem like you are just standing there, but bringing the body into alignment (whether you are standing or sitting) is hard work.  The alignment for Tadasana pose carries over into many of the standing and inverted yoga postures.

While you are standing in Tadasana, observe your breath rising and falling.  Observe sounds rising and falling.  Watch each moment rise and fall.  Surrender yourself completely to this inevitable reality of our existence.

This practice may draw you deeper into a sense of presence and gratitude.  You may find yourself so incredibly grateful for the time that you do have, the life that you do have, each breath that you do have, the potential of experiences that you do have, the freedom to create most anything that you would like, etc.  Carpe Diem.  Be a steady witness.  Be a mountain through every rise and fall of life.


"If the sun refused to shine, I'd still be loving you. If mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me."  ~Led Zeppelin

 

 

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About the Author


Voted "Best Yoga Instructor in LA" by Los Angeles Family Magazine, Alanna Zabel is the creator and founder of AZIAM Yoga. In addition to her Yoga certifications, she is a certified fitness and Pilates instructor. Alanna holds a double BA in Child Development and Theatre/Dance. She is currently working towards a Masters degree in Psychology.

Alanna focuses all of her work on the personal Self realization of those she is working with. She leads yoga retreats nationally and internationally, including her signature juice-fasting and DETOX retreats.

Alanna has written and illustrated seven childrens books, including, The Seven Doors, a childrens book version of Deepak Chopra’s best selling novel, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. 

Distilled down to the most basic element, “I AM” is the utmost essence of being.  It is the healing power of the Universe and the absolute power of being exactly who you are.  Use this power every day to build the foundation on which to re-create your Self in each moment.  There is no limit to the power of “I AM” to access healing and transformation of every aspect of your life.  The word “Om” is a form of “I AM”.

Alanna has been featured in Self, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Yoga Fit, People, Life & Style, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, and Yogi Times magazines, as well as having been featured in several yoga/fitness productions.

For more information on Alanna, please view her website at www.aziam.com.


 

 

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