We find ourselves standing hundreds of times a week, so what’s the big deal about working on Tadasana?
On the mat Tadasana, Mountain pose, helps us find perfect alignment of our frame so our muscles strengthen evenly, allowing us to stand with support and ease. I have pictures of my Tadasana feet from all over. At my favorite hotel, the Blue Sea in San Diego.
Inside the Paramount Theatre on their beautifully restored carpet.
In the sand on beaches—in Mexico, both oceans, plus the Gulf.
In last year’s surprise snow here in Austin.
The longest I’ve stood in Tadasana was close to two hours in San Antonio on the Riverwalk. Ron and I stood waiting for the Spurs’ barges to come by as we all celebrated their fifth NBA Championship in 2014.
I have stood in Tadasana for practical reasons: in line at the HEB, or at Petco waiting for vet services for our new puppy Ella, or ages ago at the post office. I have also stood in Tadasana for fun, like hosting our 2022 New Year’s Eve Sock Hop with the grandkids.
While these are all good reasons to be able to stand upright with ease, last Saturday night I discovered my deepest motivation to work on Tadasana.
It was simple. There are no chairs in Room 8 at the St. David’s South Hospital intensive care unit. When you come to realize this may be your last time to see a dear friend, you want to be able to stand for as long as you can. A one-sided conversation can still take up a lot of time to chat—catching up, dishing dirt, and saying all the things you want to say so you don’t wake up in the middle of the night wishing you had told her this or that.
You want to be able to stand long enough to sing made-up ditties to her. “A blessing on your head Maggie Rhode, Maggie Rhode,” based on a song from Fiddler on the Roof. You don’t want your feet, ankles, or back to start hurting—you want to sound cheerful, even though you’ve been told she cannot hear you. You don’t want to run out of time to sing Happy Trails to You, written by Dale Evans—a song, it turned out, Mags heard nightly as a little girl being tucked into bed by her dad.
You practice Tadasana—and all of yoga—so you can be your Best Self off the mat when you need it the most.
Deep thanks to all of you who have held Maggie in Light and Love over the past four months as our Happy Baby. It’s been a long, yet short journey for her, fighting off cancer. As they say in Cool Runnings, “Peace be the journey.” From here in Austin Amy’s Ice Cream tells us to “Eat dessert first.” However, I feel it was best expressed by songwriter Warren Zevon, who advised us to “Enjoy every sandwich.” Zevon’s signature song about life and death reminding us all to “keep me in your heart for a while.”
Rest in Peace, as you continue the great adventure, Margaret “Maggie” Rhode (1956-2022) with beloved sisters Sue (left) and Amy (center).
Please know I do take requests for Happy Baby – it can be for anyone for any reason, including celebrating a new baby!
Because I was living in Washington, DC in April of 1968, I have a deep connection to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. As new bride of just 19, I found myself in the early throes of moving from DC to Toledo, Ohio where my husband of three months was already working. It might be hard to believe in these times where it's impossible to escape the news, but 54 years ago with no access to any media, I walked to work as usual on that April day, unaware of Dr. King's death. Inside the office, as always, Muzak was playing in the background. Our wake-up call only came when the elderly Black postman plopped into a chair to gather himself. “Those young bucks out there are tearing down the city.”
We turned on the radio to hear the news that, in fact, DC was under siege as rioting swept the city. Knowing I was alone, my boss told me to go to my parents’ home, not understanding the strain on the bus service during this emergency.
I stopped briefly at my apartment to pick up a few things and call my mom, so she would know I was safely on my way. Living downtown, I walked to the central Greyhound station, looking over my shoulder again and again, all while the sound of shouting and broken glass rang out. Shop windows were being broken — the looting had begun. Quickening my pace, I saw flashes of brilliant colors as garments flew out of the D J Kaufman display window down the block.
The station was in total chaos with people boarding buses even without tickets. Crammed over any safety limits, I found myself grateful just to be standing in the aisle as the bus made its way south to St. Mary’s County. Sirens filled the air followed by yelling inside the bus to point out fires along our route. A sense of relief washed over us as we left the burning city behind.
From the safety of my parents’ home many miles away, I watched the days unfold. I needed to return to my DC apartment the following week to pack for our move. We lived off Thomas Circle, just up from the White House. As I walked to our apartment, I was shocked to see armed soldiers on every corner. Martial law was enacted, forcing an early curfew. My moving would now become a two-day process of being packed up then picked up the next day.
I spent my last night sleeping on the floor. It was a sad farewell to the city that I loved as a child, growing up miles away in the small town of Tall Timbers. I continue to love DC as an adult with every visit. It was a sad farewell to the time of Dr. King and the interruption of his dream. Like everything around justice, it was only delayed.
Warrior II teaches us that strength can come from long holds, focus and vision. As I left DC to start a new life in a new city with a new husband, without knowing it I found my own inner Warrior II. In Warrior II we look forward, not backward, gathering our courage from our personal horizons. We gain strength, determination — and a sense of adventure that most people don’t assign to the word warrior. In fact, Warrior II is not combative or confrontational. (Or, perhaps only with your own demons.)
So, I hope you all will join me on this day in Warrior II. Hit your pause button and prepare yourself to meditate, reflect and settle into your own Warrior II even from the chair. To celebrate, I know I’ll be doing a little yoga — I hope you’ll do the same.