If you want to try yoga, start out simple.
In my previous columns, I talked about breath and the pranayama used to help calm the mind for meditation and the asana practice of yoga. Now lets build on that.
The elements of this posture we will learn can be found in all most every yoga posture out there, from hand stand to "Warrior II."
Some would argue, it is found in every yoga posture. The pose? Tadasana(tah-DAHS-anna), or the mountain pose.
Why is this the most important? Because, the key actions of tadasana are the key actions for most yoga postures from table to handstand. The philosophy behind tadasana is how you get there.
So let’s try it. Begin . In through the nose, out through the nose. Stand up on your feet. Close or soften your gaze. If you have vertigo or get dizzy easy, just look down to lighten your gaze.
Keep your chin in line with chest. Now, draw feet together. If this is uncomfortable, then have your feet hip distance apart. In your mind, visualize the soles of your feet. The pads of the big toes all the way to pinky toes, down to heels, and then try to distribute the weight evenly across your feet. From the inner edges of the foot to the outer.
Most of the time in our lives we tend to stand heavy in one foot with unequal balance between the hips. Finding evenness in the feet is the main key action of the pose and will help with the alignment for the rest of the posture.
Now, connect with the outer and inner edges of the ankles and draw the energy to the knees, engage them, lifting them up towards the thighs. Then thighs lift up and roll back gently. The tailbone tucks slightly towards the earth. Your fingers drip towards the ground and the arms hang as the shoulders relax down and towards each other down the back.
To feel this on inhalation, purposely lift you shoulders up towards ears and then as you exhale, roll the shoulders back and down.
Try this posture for a good one or two minutes. When you release, tadasana, shake your hands out, shake your legs out, bend the knees and release the tension.
Believe it or not, there will be tension built if you have never concentrated on standing evenly in your feet. It takes a lot of effort and concentration when we first begin our practice to accomplish the most seemingly passive postures, like tadasana. I would suggest taking a one or two minute savasana after trying this because it will help your body absorb the effects of the posture.
Tadasana will not only help you understand more postures, but it will ultimately help you understand you body. The benefits? Better posture, makes you legs stronger, firms up your abs and buttocks, it may help release pain related to lower back issues and helps flat feet.
So practice, practice, practice. You can practice this anywhere, anytime. The next time you are in line at the grocery store or for a coffee at Starbucks, think: Mighty Mountain!