Energize: Postures to Build Strength and Endurance
Standing poses build strength, endurance, and steadiness. Balance poses improve poise and self-possession. Backbends release the flow of energy through your body. Twists and inversions rejuvenate and revitalize you. Vinyasa is a method of yoga that strings postures together in a sequence with deep breathing to create an active, flowing routine full of movement and energy. Depending on which postures you include in your vinyasa, you’ll experience a mild to a strenuous cardiovascular workout. We show you a few examples, including the well-known and popular sun salutation, then set you free to create your own vinyasa routines.
Tadasana: Mountain PoseThe mountain pose is an important basic pose to learn well. It is deceptively simple in that it appears as easy as standing, but it actually requires great concentration because the entire body must be equally balanced. Tada means “mountain,” and sana means “straight,” so tadasana (pronounced tah-DAH-sah-nah) means standing straight like a mountain. As you stand in tadasana, try to feel the firmness and stability of a mountain. The mountain pose benefits your body in many ways. It helps to maintain balance and posture, which leads to internal balance, which leads to good health. You must have a clear understanding of this pose and be able to hold it well before you can hold any of the other standing poses well—including the headstand, which is really just an upsidedown version of tadasana! When holding tadasana, it’s important to breathe. Let your lower ribs expand on the inhalation. Imagine your diaphragm lowering to make room in your lower chest. You are a soldier of peace in tadasana, so there’s no need to put up your armor or feel any tension. Try to notice the difference between tension and simple awareness. As you complete the pose, distribute your weight evenly between your heels and toes, between each leg, over each hip. Think balance. Let your belly expand and release its tension with each inhalation.
- Put your feet together with your toes pointed forward. Your arms should hang by your sides with the palms facing toward your body.
- Lift your toes off the ground. Notice how the arches of your feet feel. Slightly lift up. Now, slowly place your toes back on the ground while you maintain the feeling of the lift in your arches. Feel the lift all the way up your entire body.
- Feel your spine and the back of your neck lengthening. (Remember that string pulling up the crown of your head?) Pull up the thigh muscles and lift the front of your body. Relax your hands and face.
- Yoga Adventure: A visualization is an effective tool for the mountain pose. As you hold this pose, imagine you are a mountain. Feel how steady, strong, solid, and balanced you are. Feel how you are both a unique, powerful manifestation, and at the same time no different from the planet you rise out of.
- Ta Da (sana)!