Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

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Benefits: If you notice your shoulders rounding, mountain pose can improve posture by re-educating your muscles into a healthier posture. It can also strengthen weak legs. And, focusing on a slow, mindful breath can reduce anxiety.

Stand with your feet hips distance apart (enough room for 2 fists to fit between your feet). Feel your whole foot touching the floor, maybe the lifting your toes and mindfully bringing equal balance to the inside and outside of the foot.

When you feel centered, gently engage your calf muscles, thighs, and glutes. Pull in your belly and open your chest by bringing your shoulder blades closer together on your back. Imagine there is a string pulling you up from the sky and stand up a little taller and straighter.

If you look at your reflection from the side, you should notice that your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles are all in a straight line.

To really feel your body in complete alignment, try this pose standing with your back against a wall.  Begin with noticing your heels up against the wall, and then work your way up.  Feel which parts of your legs touch the wall, your back, your shoulders and the back of your head.

Close your eyes, and breathe mindfully for 1-2 minutes. When this pose feels complete to you, shake out your arms and legs and relax all your muscles.

Modifications:

Try this pose seated in a chair, engaging all the same muscles and lengthening up, sitting up tall and straight.

Listen to your body and honor YOUR personal edge. If holding this pose becomes painful, then back out of the pose and try again another day. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

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