Most people view standing up straight as a given, or at least the standing part; however, enjoying the full length of your body as an asana on its own is a relatively over-looked yoga position.
Tadasana (ta-DAH-sa-nah), or Mountain pose contributes to vestibular health and focuses on restoring balance to the body. Practising Tadasana facilitates good posture because it asks you to place equal weight on both feet, create symmetry between each hip socket and the floor, be relaxed through the shoulders and neck and feel balanced through the centre of your core. Establishing body alignment opens the airway and relieves imbalances brought about by stress and tension in the muscles.
Mountain pose is built from the ground up beginning with the feet. Like a modest mountain peak, your body reaches upwards from a strong base. Lift and spread the toes, gently pressing them down as you expand into the balls of your feet, knuckles of the big toes side by side, feet parallel with each other and one foot underneath each hip. Lay the whole foot softly on the floor and connect the instep, outer edge, heels and toes equally with the ground as weight distribution points. Rock your body gently from the balls to the heels of the feet so that you may settle into each foot with a sense of renewed balance.
Imagine an invisible line straight up from the insteps to the inner thighs and join it through your groin muscles, inner core, shoulders, neck and crown of your head. As you inhale, lift the top of your head and maintaining your new height, exhale pressing down into your feet. Firm your thigh muscles and draw them slightly inward while you feel grounded through your entire foot, mentally checking for instep support. Bring your tailbone toward the front of the body and lift your pubic bone a bit closer to your navel using your abdominal muscles.
Inhale and open your chest lifting the shoulders up and rolling them away from your collar bones. Exhale as your draw your shoulder blades down your back and visualize them getting a little closer to each other and the back of your waist. Relax your arms, wrists and fingers. Allow your resting palms to rotate away from your body and let the thumbs follow this subtle outward movement.
Lift your chin gently so it becomes parallel to the ground. Soften your eye gaze and feel the energy travelling from the Earth, awakening the centre of your body and lifting through the crown of your head.
Defy gravity; be the mountain. Contemplate your stillness, poise and strength.