I’m standing up a lot at the moment. In my life I could easily spend 80% of my time sitting or lying down I reckon. But when you look out for opportunities to stand more — and become less self-conscious about standing when others are sitting — there are some easy changes to make. I was initially impelled by the advice of my physio that standing is better than sitting when it comes to allowing proximal hamstring tendinopathy to heal itself. But now it’s become something of a habit.
All this standing up has given me a new-found appreciation of my amazing legs. And my legs have had a bad press recently with the whole hamstring thing, so they need all the love they can get! They may not be great to look at (I’ve given up hoping that yoga will magically grow them an inch or two!), but I’m grateful for them nonetheless! Spending more time standing up, plus physio exercises to strengthen particular muscles, has given me a much greater awareness of the work that my legs do, and something of how my legs relate to the rest of my body (sing along: “the hips bone’s connected to the thigh bone…”!). And surely there’s no better way to learn your anatomy (or anything) than through direct experience.
I found myself standing up for a very long meeting today. We have colleagues over from US, so time with them is precious and there’s a lot that we want to cover. Three-hour meetings are the norm. Standing for three hours is interesting. Well, I do rest on a chair from time to time and wander around the meeting room (and movement is great for getting the thought processes running more smoothly too!). But I’m on my feet a lot. So naturally I play subtly with my stance, shifting the weight distribution around on my feet, playing with the sensation of internally and externally rotating in the hips (not visibly I hope, just enough to feel the engagement of different muscles and the effect on my feet), engaging glutes for a posterior pelvic tilt to ease out my lower back, and noticing how all this has an effect right up the length of my spine and almost magically makes me stand taller and relax my shoulder blades down, with a slight external rotation in the shoulders, opening up.
This is probably all the stuff I should habitually explore in Tadasana, but don’t because my brain/ego kicks in with messages about how dumb it is that we’re just hanging around standing up, and how you don’t need to go to yoga class to learn how to do that, etc… Now my standing meetings have shown me how to work my way up from feet to crown and feel how adjustments in one place have an effect on overall posture — and all that sounds eerily like my teacher’s instructions in class! Clearly I should stop thinking of it as ‘tedious- asana’!
More time standing can have its drawbacks though. I find it’s pretty tiring generally! Plus, feeling fidgety after too much time being still, I was caught floating my way into a sneaky Warrior 3 by someone coming back early from the coffee break. I think I might be getting a weird reputation at work now…
A final expression of gratitude: that I was wearing a trouser suit rather than a dress!