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Standing Poses

Establishing your connection to the earth

In the western yoga literature from the 1940s and 50s, standing poses were about giving shape and strength the legs, but today we know much more than this. Of course these exercises tone and strengthen the legs that more importantly they are all about grounding.

If you think about our fundamental nature, about 70% of our body is water and the other 30% composed of minerals and elements of the earth that we have extracted from the soils that produces our food. In other words like the words of the song, we are stardust and these elements can be harnessed to support us.

At a more subtle level we are bioelectrical organisms connected through our chakras and meridians to the greater universe. Yoga is about expanded perception and mastery over the five elements and some of the most important groundwork is achieved through performing the standing poses.

A simple exercise is to stand in tadasana then allow the body to soften and with the eyes closed, visualise the energy of the earth arising through your body to merge with the surrounding space. When that has been achieved, the energy of space can be channelled down into the earth. This exercise alone can be very enlightening as it stimulates the kundalini and connects us with heaven and earth.

Tadasana is the most foundational of the standing poses where you find your balance and extend your body up and away from the ground and you need to feel connected to the ground in order to function optimally. As a soul with a body, you are striving to be responsible and to be responsible you must be alert at all levels. If there is no connection with the earth than whatever great exercise you perform or whatever great idea you have may not be supportive of your existence.

Standing poses take you beyond abstract ideologies to give your yoga practice and your thinking are solidity based in reality.

All standing poses are performed with soft and relaxed toes, the weight balance spread over the feet with slightly more weight on the heel than the ball of the foot.  and help improve balance and strengthen the legs, or as some say,'keep them in good shape'.

Standing poses help to connect us with mother earth and establish stability in our bodies and lives.  They help to ground one's energy and in effect keep us grounded.

They also  can be used to help overcome and correct physical weaknesses in the feet and legs. As the legs become stronger, there is more support for the upper body and practitioners begin to suffer less from backaches and health problems associated with the lower abdomen.

All standing poses require a degree of balance which is also good for our bodies and our confidence on many levels.

In the more advanced practice of standing poses, any movement in the upper body has its origin in the feet, for example when one is standing in tadasana, balance is controlled from the pressure applied through the feet into the floor. To move from tadasana into a forward bend, pressure is first applied to the balls of the feet, the front thighs are contracted and rotated inwards which he is perhaps and the pelvis begins to tilt forwards as the body weight moves back and the spine rough body folds forwards relative to the amount of freedom in the hips.

Conversely, when one wants to move into a back extension pressure is applied to the balls of the fee, the legs are activated and the front thighs turned outwards, which has the effect of tucking the tail under and releasing the pelvis, allowing the spine to extend up and back.

We have to remember in yoga that there is no such thing as bending, it is about flexing and extending to create space and softness in the joints.

The structural principals are the same in all poses and the idea is to grow and open the body from the ground up.

Yoga Preparation

Tadasana

Vrksasana

Virabhadrasana 1

Virabhadrasana #2

Utthita Trikonasana

Parsvottanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana

Utkatasana

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