- Teaches the basic proper alignment for all yoga postures
- Improves overall posture and the health of all joints
- Creates space between the ribcage and pelvis, which encourages optimal breathing and the function of digestive organs
- Develops awareness of the physical body
- Can be practiced anywhere you are standing (in line at the grocery store or the bank, waiting at the bus stop, etc.)
- After some practice, the cues below can be applied while walking to avoid sinking into your back and hips and strengthen the abdominal muscles
- Ayurveda: Increases all five elements (especially earth) and reduces all three doshas
- Chakras: activates the root (1) and third eye (6) chakras
- Prana Vayus: strengthens Prana and Apana
- Langhana/Brahmana: balances heating and cooling
- Stand with the feet hip width apart, parallel to each other.
- Lift the toes and press the inner and outer balls of the feet and heels into the earth. Gently release the toes to the earth, careful not to grip the floor with them.
- Lift the kneecaps up the thighs to activate the quads, careful not to lock the knees back.
- Lift the front, sides, and back of the ribcage up out of the pelvis, while lengthening down through the tailbone and feet.
- Engage the bandhas by drawing the low abdomen in and up, and lifting the pelvic floor, while lenthening the tailbone toward the earth in order to maintain length in the low back.
- Draw the lower front ribs up and back toward the spine, aligning the ribs over the pelvis.
- Widen across the collarbones and shoulder blades, careful not to pinch the shoulders back.
- Reach the arms down to the sides, lengthening through the fingertips.
- Allow the neck and head to float up and out of the spine, creating space through all of the vertebrae while maintaining a firm connection to the earth through the feet.
- Feel the body connected to the earth and sky, and as you inhale send the breath down towards the earth while sensing the upward lengthening of the body.
- As you exhale, feel the breath travel up the spine toward the sky while maintaining awareness of the connection to the earth.
- Allow the inhalation and exhalation to be equal in duration and quantity of air.
- Feel the stability and support of your body as though it is a large and stable mountain. Relax into your connection to the earth, expanding up and out from that solid connection.
- Those with leg or hip pain, or spinal problems such as hyperlordosis or kyphosis, should begin with modifications using the support of the floor or wall.
- For instances of pain while standing, begin lying on the floor with the feet flexed against a wall.
- Place a block between the thighs to develop proper alignment and inner thigh strength, which supports the knees.