Tadasana- Improves posture, balance and self-awareness

Last Updated: Jan 27, 2011, 18:40 PM IST

A deceptive pose in that it appears so simple that some students may ask - "why bother?" But just as there`s more to breathing than meets the eye, there is more to standing, too.

Stand with feet together, hands at your sides, eyes looking forward. Raise your toes, fan them open, then place them back down on the floor. Feel your heel, outside of your foot, toes and ball of your foot all in contact with the floor. Tilt your pubic bone slightly forward. Raise your chest up and out, but within reason - this isn`t the army and you`re not standing at attention. Raise your head up and lengthen the neck by lifting the base of your skull toward the ceiling.

Stretch the pinky on each hand downward; balance that movement by stretching your index fingers. Push into the floor with your feet and raise your legs, first the calves and then the thighs. Breathe. Hold the posture, but try not to tense up. Breathe.

As you inhale, imagine the breath coming up through the floor, rising through your legs and torso and up into your head. Reverse the process on the exhale and watch your breath as it passes down from your head, through your chest and stomach, legs and feet.

Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, relax and repeat.

On your next inhale, raise your arms over head (Urdhava Hastasana) and hold for several breaths. Lower your arms on an exhale. As a warm up, try synchronizing the raising and lowering of your arms with your breath - raise, inhale, lower, and exhale. Repeat 5 times.

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