What is the difference between Tadasana (mountain pose) and Samasthiti (Equal Standing)? Physically, nothing. It’s all about intention. Tadasana (practiced in Iyengar and now vinyasa) is a pose, while Samasthiti (practiced in Ashtanga) is a command of attention. A call to stand in balanced stillness. A practice of standing with equal, steady, and still attention.
What is Samasthiti for you? Is it your time to adjust your mat or wipe your sweat? Do you skip it altogether, like that poor, tiny overlooked town that gets passed through on a road trip to a seemingly more exciting place? Samasthiti serves an incredible purpose, but often times it gets overlooked, and pushed aside for the more dynamic components of our asana practice.
So, why do we even do it? Our physical practice is an opportunity for our bodies to strengthen, heal and soften. It’s a vehicle to live a life with less suffering, so that we may know our true nature, so that we may embody peace. All of the asanas we practice offer unique benefits to our overall experience, allowing the tension and patterns of our life an opportunity to unravel. The patterns we’re struggling with in our life, eventually rises to the surface in our yoga practice and give us a new realm to witness and experiment with alternative responses. Then, new patterns of balance and sustainability may rise to the surface. These postures are building a foundation for a process of evolvement, allowing us to have awareness of our conditioned patterns and start to transform ourselves into more peaceful beings.
In a world where we are called to transition rapidly from one task to the next, one role to the next, one experience to the next, we rarely allow ourselves time to process and digest the phase of transition. We miss the opportunity to pause, the opportunity to allow ourselves a moment to feel the space between, to know the space between.
Samasthiti is an opportunity to pause, and feel the spaces between our postures, between our movements. We are given the chance to reconnect to steadiness in our breath, body and mind and then, continue from that point of steadiness.
Samasthiti is more than a time to sneakily checkout what’s going on around you 😉. In our Ashtanga practice, we return to this position over and over again as a reminder to pause, a reminder to honor the spaces between.
Lots of love,