Step 1 Tadasana—The Mountain Pose
Normal Breathing (also Step 12)This is The Standing Pose. Believe it or not, simply learning how to stand straight and relaxed at the same time can be difficult for some. Their knees and toes don't touch, or their back is too curved. Before you learn the movements from this standing position, here is a good trick to improve your posture immediately:
- Place the palms of your hands together in front of your chest (as Eugenia shows in the image left). Concentrate below the center of your collarbone (where the red spot is shown in this image), and lift only from there to get your body tall and comfortable. This is the best way to improve your posture without tensing your spine and lifting your shoulders in an attempt to stand or sit straight. This is an amazing little trick that will improve your posture the minute you do it. Everyone is always surprised by this and always wish they had known about it before.
- Focus your attention on your body and if you have a full-length mirror, use it. A mirror can be very helpful for beginners to be able to see when they are centered in a posture.
- Breathe slowly and feel that you are stable, balanced and relaxed in this standing pose. If you are not relaxed, breathe slowly until you begin to calm down. Make sure your body is facing the direction of wherever the Sun is while you do this. This is important, inside or outside.
- Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your big toes side by side (that means they should both be touching one another), and stretch the other toes all flat on the floor. Your weight will be evenly distributed on the balls and the heels of your feet. Get a sense of how that feels—that the soles of your feet and your toes are connected to the earth beneath you.
- Note: If you can't get your toes to touch while standing in this basic pose, you probably also have stiffness in the muscles of your calves. Keep trying and you will feel a difference. Not being able to get your big toes to touch in a standing position can cause all kinds of back problems, too. Something as simple as this can throw everything off.
- Think about a rooster to make this position more obvious. It's also a typical military posture, only now you will be relaxing instead to feel comfortable while perfectly upright—instead of uptight! Your shoulders are relaxed as you begin this Sun series. Hold your tummy in and keep your neck and chin straight. Stretch your kneecaps up. Even if you can't get your knees together, try.
- Practice on an empty stomach.
- Close your eyes and concentrate just above the crown of your head (Sanskrit = Sahasrara Chakra). Breathe normally. Visualize that your body is as stable and solid as a mountain. The Sun rules the Crown Chakra (more on this in the Chakra Series.) It's a good idea to read about the Chakras before you begin the exercises given on this site. It will help you to concentrate on the appropriate energy centers (Chakras) in your body while you breathe and move consciously. This is a major part of Yoga—releasing tension in the body by unblocking the Chakras.
- Now you will move from this standing position, balanced, centered, relaxed, facing the sun, into Step 2. You will be taking a deep inhalation as you begin the next move.
- If you can hold your balance with your eyes closed, visualize the Sun in your mind's eye in the center of your forehead and imagine that it is big and bright.
Step 2 - Deep Inhalation
(also Step 11)
- Take a deep breath as you lift your arms up (elbows stretched) and slightly behind your ears. Your palms are facing up (as shown in image). Stretch your entire spine as you visualize it being filled with the energy of the life force through your breath. Your chin is lifted, and your head is tilted back. If you have no problem with balance, keep your eyes closed.
- Do this slowly with intention and conscious breathing. This cannot be said enough... As a matter of fact, if you have been sitting for a long time, just do this part with your arms while sitting. It's a great way to lift the spine up while in a chair!
- Feel how you are being invigorated from the top of your head down through your feet. For some it is a tingling sensation, for others just a feeling of being extremely centered.
- Remember: your inhalation is filled with the energy of the Sun. Visualize the warm rays of the Sun entering your body and filling you with its vitality, as you get ready for the Forward Bend with Step 3 (click below).