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Picture Perfect Posture: Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Tadasana is also known as Mountain Pose. It is the most foundational of all yoga postures, in fact, the principles of Tadasana or Mountain Pose translates into all yoga postures. In other words, once you get Tadasana right, you have a firm foundation for correct alignment in other yoga asanas.
Tadasana is one of the most basic yoga asanas, and it may seem deceptively simple. After all, it's basically just standing! However, if done correctly, Tadasana works every muscle in your body, challenges your mind, and gets you in touch with the deeper levels of your core, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Tadasana is a great yoga posture for back pain, because over time it can help correct misalignment patterns that often are involved in chronic back pain issues. If you have back pain problems, however, be sure to work with a yoga therapist or a teacher who has experience using yoga for back pain.
Seven Steps to Mountain Pose
1. Stand on the floor with your feet parallel and aligned under your hips. Align the weight of your body evenly between the four corners of the feet.
2. Root down through your feet, as if you were creating a connection all the way down to the center of the earth. At the same time, lengthen the space between your pelvis and your ribcage. Let your waist grown long.
3. Slightly engage you lower abs as if you are about to tuck your tailbone. Don’t actually tip the pelvic bowl, however, simply feel the lower abs around your navel engage. Lengthen your waist from this center and lift your sternum.
4. Turn your palms so they face forward. Allow the shoulders to roll slightly back, then relax your hands back to their normal position.
5. Keeping the shoulders open, align your hands with the seam of your pants (or an imaginary seam). For variation, you can also put the hands in prayer position in front of your chest.
6. Open your chest by lifting the sternum up towards the ceiling. Again, be careful not to jot out your lower ribs, instead, keep the feeling of a light tucking of the tailbone to engage the lower abs. Continue to root your feet into the floor and lengthen out of your waist.
7. Slide the back of your head backwards, as if aligning the ears with the middle of the shoulders. Keep your chin tucked and look straight forward.
Stay in Mountain Pose for about one minute.
Make a mental note of what Mountain Pose feels like in your body. Notice how challenging it is to keep your torso strong and lifted in Mountain Pose? To hold your spine up, you have to engage your abdominal musculature and the muscles in the back, which support your spine. What you felt was your core muscles being challenged and strengthened.
The great thing about Tadasana is that once you've gotten the feel for it in your body, you don't have to be in a yoga class to practice it. This is one yoga asana that can be practiced anywhere--when you stand in line, while you watch TV, when you talk on the phone. If you get the basic principles of Tadasana, you can even practice it while sitting at your desk, as the alignment of the upper body in Tadasana is exactly what you need for proper sitting posture.