This pose forms the central pillar of your yoga practice. In this pose you are a strong, powerful mountain. It is one of my favourite poses for starting a yoga class because it allows you to ground yourself spiritually and align your spine physically. If you are doing Tadasana for the first time you might want to stand with your back against the wall to get a sense of your alignment. In preparing for Tadasana I like to work from the ground up.
Step 1 - Stand with your feet parallel, hip width apart. Feel the floor beneath you and put down your roots. Lift your toes and the balls of your feet like branches stretching out, then spread them wide and lay them softly on the floor. Try to distribute your weight evenly between both feet, if it helps rock a little from side to side, once you have found your centre press downwards and outwards with your feet.
Step 2 - Bend and straighten your knees a few times to energise your legs. Give your calf bones a little cuddle by squeezing your muscles, and then check out the alignment of your kneecaps. Make any necessary adjustments, but be careful not to lock your knees or hyperextend them.
Step 3 - Cuddle your pelvis with your thigh muscles and gently lift the inner ankles to strengthen those inner arches. Then imagine that beautiful line of energy running up from your roots into your groin, through your core, up into the crown of your head. Allow your pelvis to gently sway as you move towards finding your centre. Let that tail-bone find her root as you comfortably work your body's connections into alignment.
Step 4 - Cuddle your spine with your abdominal muscles - this will naturally help you find your alignment. Then gently lengthen your upper body by lifting the front of your ribs (sometimes I place my hands on my ribs so that I can get a sense of the lift) and by lifting the sides of your ribs from your hips to your armpits. Try to avoid shrugging your shoulders up as you do so.
Step 5 - Now lift your sternum (or breast plate) by rotating your upper arms towards your back, whilst pointing your shoulder blades downwards. This movement will help you open your heart centre and widen naturally. Relax your arms by your sides with your palms facing forwards.
Step 6 - Gently lengthen your neck drawing upwards from your collar-bone, again seek that sense of alignment. Soften your jaw and relax your tongue. As you move your attention to your forehead, relax your brow and soften your eyes.
Step 7 - As you move to your crown feel your alignment. Feel your strong body centred from the crown to your pelvis, with your feet rooted in the ground. Feel the energy that you have created in your innermost core.
Breathing naturally stand in Tadasana for 30 seconds to a minute.