There is a pose in yoga called Tadasana, otherwise known as Mountain Pose.
In Tadasana, we move to the top of our mats and just stand there straight and tall. Nothing fancy. No twists. No binds. No balancing. We even get to close our eyes.
Sounds simple enough to just stand there but, actually, a lot is going on.
I always feel as if I am building this pose, bit by bit. The instructor usually runs down a checklist of the body. First, we stand as tall as possible with our feet rooting into the ground and our necks stretched long. Then, we are told to press our shoulders down and reach our arms along our sides. We are reminded to face our palms forward and reach through the fingertips.
We draw in our bellies, close our eyes and breathe.
I find this pose fortifying. It makes me feel relaxed but also makes me feel strong. It gives me a sense of myself and makes me feel at peace.
I was lucky enough to have grown up in a nurturing family which fostered a strong sense of self. But, it has been a long time since then and, in my adult years, I have sometimes needed to resurrect this sense of self.
It is always inside, but here and there, I have to go back to rebuilding it, bit by bit.
Tadasana provides a hidden inner strength in most yoga poses. So, we can be in an inversion and find Tadasana while upside down. We can be in Plank and find Tadasana while horizontal. We can be in Extended Side Angle and find Tadasana on a tilt.
No matter the position, there is a bit of Tadasana holding us in place.
Self doubt is the nemesis of inner strength and, here and there, I have found myself in times of doubt which have made me feel upside down or, at the very least, on a tilt.
It can be a challenge to find my footing again, but I have done so by going through my own checklist of sorts. Sometimes, finding my footing involves retreating a bit for some time on my own.
I remember when I was a new mom at 25. None of my other friends were moms at that young age. After a couple years, we moved to the suburbs, and I joined a playgroup and finally met some other moms.
It was there that I realized I was out of sync with the others in my decision to wait another year before sending my first to nursery school. She could not even talk yet, and I wanted her to be able to tell me about her day.
That was the first time I had some doubts about a direction I had chosen.
I left the group early that day and remember going home and pausing to stand in my foyer, finding my reasons again for my choice.
I had to tap into myself, and I stuck with my decision.
We usually arrive at Tadasana after working up quite a sweat in the practice, and it can be a welcome reprieve. It is kind of like standing in my foyer by myself, with myself, providing the chance to regroup before continuing on.
It is strange how it has taken yoga to make me realize that I can take Tadasana at any time; that there is always the opportunity to rebuild my sense of self when I believe it has gone missing.
It is always there, inside, even when I have my doubts.