By B.K.S. Iyengar January 1999 Our legs are the foundation for movement and action since they carry our weight while walking. They should be firm and steady to hold the brain, which is the seat of intelligence, in correct alignment with the spine. Hence, the standing poses are elementary to yoga. They are designed to bring flexibility and make the body strong and steady TADASANA‘Tada‘ means a mountain and sama upright, unmoved. ‘Sthiti‘ means standing still. ‘Tadasana‘, therefore, implies a pose where you stand firm and erect like a mountain. ‘Tada‘ also means a palm tree growing straight. This is the basic standing pose. Technique 1. Remain as natural as you are when standing. 2. Keep the feet together, toes and inner heels touching and the arch raised. 3. Rest the feet flat on the ground and stretch all toes. 4. Heels should not come off the floor and the weight should be exactly in the center of the feet. 5. Tighten the knees and pull up the kneecaps. Compress the hips and pull the muscles at the back of the thighs up. 6. Keep the spine erect, raise the sternum and expand the chest. 7. Keep the stomach in and the neck straight. 8. Do not lift the shoulders when you keep the arms by the sides of the body, fingertips extending downwards and palms facing the thighs. 9. Stand still for 20 to 30 seconds and breathe normally. Special InstructionsMost people don’t pay attention to the correct method of standing. Some take the body weight only on one leg or stand with knees bent. Others protrude the abdomen or keep the feet at an angle. These can result in deformities hampering spinal elasticity, which affect the mind. Benefits• Tadasana is useful for an alert body and mind. It induces lightness and agility. If practiced as in the picture here, it also relieves stiffness in shoulders and back and tones ankles and knees. UTTHITA TRIKONASANA‘Utthita‘ means extended and ‘trikon‘ is a triangle. Technique 1. Stand erect with the feet joined. 2. While exhaling, jump and spread the feet about 3 feet apart and stretch the arms so that they are in line with the shoulders. The palms should face the floor. 3. Turn the right foot to the right and the left foot slightly inwards. 4. Grip the thigh muscles and lift the kneecaps. 5. While exhaling, bend the trunk to the right and hold the right ankle with the right hand. 6. Lift the left arm so that it is aligned with the right arm and left shoulder. 7. Turn the neck and look at the extended left hand. 8. Stay in this position for 20 to 30 seconds. 9. While exhaling, lift the right palm from the ankle. Straighten the trunk. Turn the left leg to the left and repeat the asanaon the left. Special Instructions In the beginning, it may be difficult to hold the ankle with the right palm. Hold the shin or use a book or a brick and rest the fingers on it. Benefits• The asana tones the leg muscles and removes stiffness in legs and hips.• It relieves backaches and neck sprains and straightens the ankles and neck.
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