YogaAndBackCare - Tadasana


Tadasana - the Mountain Pose is the building block of the Yoga postures.

Before I forget, always remember to breathe. Later on in this posture we will focus our attention on the breath, but the Golden Rule is "if in doubt about whether you should be breathing in, or out or holding the breath, just keep breathing! "

The heels need to be level. Stand at the edge of your yoga mat and place each heel carefully at the edge.

Don't worry if you then realise one foot is longer than the other. Lots of people have one foot slightly longer than the other.

If you are wide hipped, place your feet facing forward your own foot distance apart. As you practise this posture, the aim is to bring both feet together.

Imagine a line going down your shin bone and carrying on through your foot.

The two feet need to be placed so that the imaginary lines through each foot are parallel. Some people need to move their heels apart to make their feet parallel, others their toes. Vive la difference!

Stand up as straight as you can.

Imagine you are a puppet on a string and you have a string coming out of the top of the head. Your head must be erect. Your chin is neither lifted upwards nor drooping downwards.

Your head needs to be perfectly balanced on your neck. Imagine your head as a ball with a line through it dividing it into two equal parts. That line should be vertical and should carry down through your neck when you are looking at your reflection in a mirror.

Don't let the head tip to one side or the other. Tadasana is all about perfect balance.

Your spine feels as if it is energised and stretching upwards. Sideways on your back needs all the natural curves that correspond to the neutral spine.

Imagine all your bones are just hanging naturally under gravity. They must be symmetrical.

Go through them in turn.

Check your shoulders are level.

Check your waist is level

Check your hips are level.

Check your knees are level.

Pull your tummy muscles in but not so far you have to hold your breath. To breathe well and fully, the diaphragm needs to expand and if the tummy muscles are too tense, the diaphragm has difficulty expanding fully.

As you practise this posture, you will learn to pull in your tummy muscles as hard as you can on an out breath, relax the tension in the tummy muscles for the in breath and then repeat the cycle.

Try tipping your pelvic area forward, feel what effect that has on the curve of the back near the tail bone. Now try tipping it backwards, feel the effect. Now find the happy medium.

If you like doing forward bends you may find you already have an exaggerated lordosis in the lower back. This will give problems later unless you work on it and Tadasana is the perfect posture to concentrate on this.

Have a look at your profile sideways. Tense your buttock muscles and try and push your coccyx area down and forwards, as if you are tucking your bottom underneath you. Does that alter the shape of your profile in the lumbar area? You are looking for a small curve in the lumbar area which is natural but not an enormous one.

Experiment. Look on Google for Lordosis and you'll find some pictures of a normal spine and one with an exaggerated lordosis in the lumbar area. That will help you understand what you are trying to achieve in your body.

When you feel perfectly balanced, shut your eyes and observe your breathing. Let yourself breathe normally for a little while.

Then start deepening your breath. Place your hands just above your waist so that the finger tips are just touching. If you are using your diaphragm to breath in deeply, on the in breath you should feel your finger tips being forced apart. On the out breath the finger tips return to touch again.

Enjoy quietly breathing in and out deeply.