Tadasana, or Mountain Pose is typically thought of as the starting pose for all of the standing postures. The variations differ slightly between various yogic traditions, but the essential focus on properly aligning the body to prepare for other postures remains the same. Tadasana can be used as home base in between postures and can also be an excellent pose to practice on its own as a way to identify postural habits.
Stand with the big toes touching, and the heels either touching or very slightly apart. Alternately, the feet can be hip width distance apart for extra stability, though you want to make sure the big toes are as close as or even slightly closer together than the heels. Distribute weight equally between the heels, the base of the big toe and the base of the little toe. Spread the toes out on the mat and lift the arches. Straighten the legs (without hyper extending the knees) and engage the thigh muscles to slightly pull up the kneecaps. Keep a subtle inward rotation of the thighs, while at the same time tucking the tailbone. Make sure that you are tucking the tailbone just enough to bring some length to the lower back but not so much that the weight of the torso moves back behind the center line (from the crown of the head to the middle of the feet).
Engage Mula Bandha, lifting from the center of the perineum and lightly engaging the abdominals so that the belly button is pulled back toward the spine. Lift the front of the rib cage from the sternum, while at the same time broadening across the mid back to ensure you are not squeezing the shoulder blades together. Instead, they should stay wide while drawing them down the back away from the ears. Bring the ears in line with the shoulders and lift through the crown of the head. Soften the jaw and throat and find a steady, even rhythm to both inhale and exhale.
The hands are either at the sides of the waist, palms facing in or in front of the heart with the palms lightly pressing together. It can be helpful sometimes to transfer weight into the toes, the heels, and side to side to find the edges of your balance before coming back to the middle and grounding straight through center.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!