Practical Stress Management: The Standing in Line Blues

People stanidng in line
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You know it’s going to happen.

It happens to everyone.

You’re in a hurry.

You want to take a quick trip to the store, just to grab one thing.

But then it happens. You rush through the store, grab your one item, get to the checkout area – and the universe conspires to thwart you. The teller slows down. The people in front of you in line slip by to go grab one more thing.

They smile and say, “You don’t mind, do you?”

Of course you don’t. Or can’t. What are you going to do, make a scene? Inside, the anxiety appears. You feel the stress hormones start to flow.

We have a solution. Instead of stressing, embrace the moment. Do some yoga.

Yup, right there in line at the store. We’ve got the perfect pose for you: Tadasana.

Tadasana: The Mountain Pose

Tadasana is the foundation of all standing postures in yoga. It’s easy to learn, and you can do it just about anywhere. Follow these ten steps:

  1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and parallel. Your toes should not point in or out – they should be straight ahead, like they’re on train tracks.
  2. Relax your body and focus on your breathing. Breath in and out through your nose on a slow, even count of four. Four in, four out. If breathing in and out through your nose and counting makes you stressed or anxious, forget about it. Breath naturally and focus on relaxing.
  3. Keep the knees straight, but don’t lock them. Your shins should incline a tiny bit forward.
  4. Relax your hips and pelvic area. Tuck your tailbone a tiny bit to lengthen your lower back. Don’t over-tuck – only enough to lengthen your lower back.
  5. Use the muscles of your abdomen to lengthen the front, back, and side of your torso. Lift your ribs and allow your sternum to point slightly up.
  6. Loosen up your shoulders by rolling them forwards and backwards a few times. Make the circles big and easy. Then shrug your shoulders up to your ears and let them drop.
  7. Let your arms hang loose by your sides. Keep your hands free of tension.
  8. Imagine a string attached to the top of your head, encouraging your spine to lengthen gently. Keep your eyes straight ahead. Don’t look up or down – keep your gaze steady and forward.
  9. Free the muscles of your neck by tucking the chin as you maintain the string image from (7). Relax your forehead, the muscles around your eyes, your jaw, and your cheeks.
  10. Repeat as necessary. Once you get used to going through these steps, they’ll happen automatically. Spend some time on the details, but once you have them, use this quick and dirty two-part shortcut: head-spine-tailbone, shoulders-hips-knees-toes. Meaning keep your head floating over your spine and in line with your sacrum, and place your shoulders over your hips, which should be in line with your knees and your toes. Got it?

Hello? Next, Please. Hello?

That’s the checkout person, calling you back from your stress-free, yogic state. Ignore the quizzical stare and don’t worry about the funny looks from the people behind you. They’re just jealous they don’t know how to bliss out on command.

There you are: ten steps to practical Zen. Next time you’re stuck in line, give Tadasana a shot: it works!

The materials provided on the Pinnacle Blog are for information and educational purposes only. No behavioral health or any other professional services are provided through the Blog and the information obtained through the Blog is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional. If you are in need of medical or behavioral health treatment, please contact a qualified health professional directly, and if you are in need of emergency help, please go to your nearest emergency room or dial 911.