Upward Facing Dog

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) allows the body to strengthen and stretch simultaneously. Giving fluidity to movement this beautiful pose is known to yogis and non-yogis alike. It is the final pose that comprises the “vinyasa” that in flow yoga is the staple of its name.

This pose is accessible to all with modification which does not dilute its qualities. The hallmark of Upward Facing Dog is the grounding of the pose which is carried only by the feet and hands. The support however is all core.

Students can find a solace and relaxing component in performing a vinyasa as each and every major muscle group is required through the sequence finally ending in this heart opening revelation to take respite in one’s downward facing dog.

Body Parts Effected: Back, Spine, wrists, forearms, shoulders
Preparatory poses: Cobra pose, Swan Pose, Camel Pose, Standing Backbend
Pose type: Strengthening Backbend
Also known as: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Urdhva = upward, Mukha = facing, Svana = Dog, Asana = Pose)

1. From Plank Pose, make sure that your hands are at shoulders distance. The inner elbow rotating away.
2. Moving from high to low pushup, either roll over the toes from low pushup, or pick up one foot and place the top on the mat and repeat with the other foot. This positions the body correctly into the pose.
3. The tops of your feet should rest on the mat; do not tuck your toes, as this can crunch your spine.
4. The tops of the shoulders roll down, and the chest moves forward through your straight arms. Pull in the lower belly, this will release the low back.
5. Press down firmly through the tops of your feet and hands evenly. Strongly engage your leg muscles to keep your thighs lifted off the floor do not clench your buttocks.
6. Keep your elbows pressed alongside your body. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and lift your chest toward the ceiling.
7. Draw your shoulders back and your heart forward, but do not crunch your neck. If your neck is flexible, tilt your head to gaze toward the sky. Otherwise, keep your head neutral and your gaze directly forward.
8. Your thighs should be firm and turned slightly inward. Your arms should also be firm, slightly turned so that each elbow crease faces forward.
9. Actively press your shoulder blades into your upper back. Keep your elbows hugged in to your sides. Broaden across your collarbones and lift your heart. Glide the tops of your shoulders away from your ears.
10. Distribute the length of the backbend evenly through your entire spine.
11. To exit lower all the way to the mat and return to child’s pose or downward facing dog.

Modifications
1. Upward-Facing Dog provides a deep stretch to the entire spine and front torso, flexibility is built slowly and without force on the body. Dropping completely to the ground and taking cobra pose is an excellent modification.
2. It is not necessary to ‘roll over’ your toes to achieve this pose, simply picking up the foot and replacing on the ground with the top of the foot on the mat or a blanket for padding is an excellent modification.
3. If it is difficult to keep your legs lifted above your mat, roll a firm blanket and place it below your top thighs (or have a friend or teacher place the blanket there while you are in Plank Pose). When you move into Upward-Facing Dog, rest your thighs lightly on the roll.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Women who are pregnant should avoid this poise after the first trimester. This is due to the hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy, this pose may overstrain the ligaments in the lower back.
c. If you have wrist injuries or carpel tunnel syndrome drop into cobra pose.
d. If you have any neck injuries, always look forward and slightly tuck the chin to stabilize the neck.

Four Limbed Staff Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) allows us to link poses through fluidity. It is one of the great strength poses of yoga and when combined with downward facing dog and plank pose help us move through standing and seated sequences with ease; commonly known as vinyasa (moving with breath).

It is one of the most misunderstood poses and mis-performed poses of yoga. When mastered, and I say this lightly this pose gives us confidence, grounding, strength and power to move in the direction we seek as yogis both on and off the matt

Body Parts Effected: wrists, bicep and tricep, shoulders, core legs and back
Preparatory poses: Plank Pose, Downward Facing dog, knees-chest-chin, side plank
Pose type: Strength
Also known as: Chaturanga Dandaasana (Chatur=Four, Anga=limb, Danda= Staff, Asana = Pose)

1. Begin in Plank Pose. Rock back and forth slightly to understand your balance and you’re foot position, adjust as needed so that when you rock forward your shoulders align right over your wrists.
2. Slowly bend the elbows keeping the arms grazing the body. The elbows should come to a 90 degree angle with the wrists which will be directly below them.
3. Pull in the lower belly and keep your back flat. You will feel you are well above the floor.
4. Lift through your chest, keeping your shoulders in line with your elbows. Do not let your chest drop or sag toward the floor. You will feel some “up dog” in the chest as you look forward ahead of your fingertips, keep the neck in alignment with the spine.
5. Firm the tops of your thighs (quadriceps)
6. If the full pose is too challenging right now, come to your knees first. Then, lower your torso to keeping the back straight, remember there is a straight line from shoulder to elbow and all of this is in line with the body, Shoulders never “wing up” with the body sitting below. This is Half Chaturanga.
7. Do not let your elbows splay to the sides. Keep them hugged along your ribcage, pointed toward your heels.
8. Press the base of your knuckles into the floor. Your upper and lower arms should be perpendicular, bent 90 degrees at the elbows.
9. You can either gently roll into upward facing dog or cobra from here, or lower to the floor.

Use of a Props and Modifications
1. For beginning students, drop the knees to the mat and lock arms into sides lowering all the way to the floor (half Chaturanga). This will help you work with building strength. As you progress still drop the knees but now lower down only half-way. Once you can do this with ease then attempt full chaturanga.
2. If you have carpel tunnel or wrist issues and have been cleared by a doctor coming to the knees and using fists instead flat palms may provide a useful modification.
3. When learning the full pose placing blocks on the medium setting below the chest is an excellent tool to learn just how far to come down. You can lower to the blocks which will be just at the 90 degree angle of the elbows, then lift back to plank, trying this a few times.
4. To get a feel for the correct arm position, practice it while standing and facing a wall. Bend your elbows so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Flex your wrists, pointing your fingertips toward the ceiling. Tuck your tailbone to lengthen your low back.
5. You can also practice the arm alignment by standing and facing a wall. Bend your elbows and press your palms against the wall. You can use a mirror to double check your alignment.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. If you have carpel tunnel syndrome, wrists issues, tendonitis, shoulder issues, this pose needs to be modified (see above) or removed from practice for a time until you have healed.
c. If you are pregnant, dropping your knees and lowering down only slightly may be the best option in later trimesters.

Knees Chest Chin

Ashtanga Namaskara (Knees Chest Chin) This pose emphasizes the motions needed for cobra pose, by accentuating the fluidity of the spine.

Body Parts Effected: Biceps, triceps, spine, collarbone, core
Preparatory poses: forward fold, plank pose,
Pose type: Backbend
Also known as: Ashtanga Namaskara (ashta = eight, Anga = limb, Namaskara = salutation)

1. Rock forward from Downward dog into plank pose, wrists under shoulders. Belly in, looking forward of the hands which are fanned out on the mat.
2. With an exhalation, lower your knees to the floor. Keep your toes tucked under.
3. Hug your elbows in toward your sides, pointing them back toward your heels.
4. Keeping your hips lifted off the floor and palms flat, bring your chest to the floor.
5. Place your chest between your hands and gently touch your chin to the floor.
6. Hold for 1-10 breaths, and then lower your body all the way to the mat and rest.

Props and Pose Tips
1. A blanket or pad can be placed under the knees if you feel sensitivity.
2. Keep elbows locked into side of body to help support shoulder girdle and maintain posture. This pose is intended to help build strength in the body for full chaturanga.
3. Do not let the belly drop, maintain the integrity of the pose by holding the lower belly in. The core integrity is imperative with this pose.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. If you are pregnant this pose should be modified after the 1st trimester.
c. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome this pose is not advised as it places a strain on the wrists and forearms. .

Plank Pose

Kumbhakasana (Plank Pose) is one of the first strength poses we encounter in yoga. It requires us to use our core to support our long and lean structure. Only our hands and the balls of our feet support us on the earth (or knees if doing the modified version) but it is our core, our center that engages and fires and holds us steady.

This pose is fundamental in bringing ourselves into a natural state of existence. It does not require of us but asks us to let go, to BE and to accept.

Body Parts Effected: wrists, forearms, shoulders, core, upper and mid back, legs and feet
Preparatory poses: Foundational pose
Pose type: Strength pose, arm-balancing
Also known as: Kumbhakasana (kumbhaka =inhaling, exhaling and retaining, Asana = Pose)

1. Moving from downward facing dog, step one foot back in a lunge then the other.
2. When moving between plank and downdog the feet may need to move to allow for proper alignment. It is find to adjust the feet forward or back to achieve the long line.
3. Shoulders directly over wrists, use the strength of the skeleton to hold you in the pose.
4. Begin to pull the lower belly in supporting the lower back. There should be no sway of the belly towards the floor.
5. Firm the legs by lifting the back of the knees; lift the quadriceps into the hamstrings.
6. The legs should be far enough apart to provide balance but not overly wide.
7. The heels should be pointed to the sky and you should be on the balls of the feet.
8. Begin to round slightly at the shoulder blades, spreading them apart, use the strength of the back body to hold you in place.
9. Breathe calmly and steady through the nose, lengthening the breath.

Modifications and Use of a Props
1. To prevent sway back drop the knees, bring chest forward keeping back straight.
2. For wrist injuries, the full pose can be performed on forearms.
3. For wrist injuries, the full pose can also be done on the knuckles.
4. Using hand gel pads can help lesson wrist tension or folding mat over a couple of times to make a softer surface.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Anyone with wrist injuries should not practice the full version of this pose.
c. Anyone with carpal tunnel syndrome should not practice the full version of this pose.
d. If you have osteoporosis this pose should be modified on either forearms, or knees down.

Downward Facing Dog

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) probably the most recognized pose to non-yogis and yogis alike. Resembling an upside down V we find rest in this pose as our practice progresses. Initially challenging the newer student struggles with balance, and lift. This pose is representative of the struggles we face when we are young, and soon overcome and master a level of skill that builds confidence and self-esteem.

This pose helps us find the balance of our body in a slightly inverted position. Maybe not initially intuitive for most yogis but this is actually a resting pose, that can provide a bit of introspection and relief from the riggers of practice.

Body Parts Effected: Arms and Shoulders, legs (Calves and hamstrings), arches of feet and wrists
Preparatory poses: Standing forward fold, half sun salutation, child’s pose
Pose type: Extended forward fold, used for transitioning between poses, resting pose or strengthening pose
Also known as: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Adho =Down, Mukha=Face Svana= Dog Asana = Pose)

1. Starting in all fours position (hands and knees). Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. The fold of your wrists should be parallel with the top edge of your mat. Point your middle fingers directly to the top edge of your mat.
2. Stretch your elbows and relax your upper back.
3. Spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your palms and knuckles. Distribute your weight evenly across your hands. It may feel like you are palming a basketball.
4. Exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor.
5. Inhale and press your hands firmly into the mat and begin to descend your heels towards the mat. Keeping a deep bend in the knees.
6. Pull your lower belly in toward your back body. Begin to lift your hips high as you exhale into the pose.
7. Begin to straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. Only straighten until you feel a stretch. Bring your body into the shape of an inverted “V” Imagine your hips and thighs being pulled backwards from the top of your thighs.
8. Adjust the hands or feet to feel a stretch that allows your head to begin to move through your arms. Your arms are shoulder distant apart. The legs should be far enough back on the mat that you feel extended not in a forward fold.
9. Breathe calmly and steady through the nose, lengthening the breath.
10. Press the floor away from you as you lift through your pelvis. As you lengthen your spine, lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling. Now press down equally through your feet and the palms of your hands.
11. Begin to move the shoulders away from the ears allowing your body as much space as possible.
12. Firm the outer muscles of your arms and press your hands at the base of the fingers evenly into the floor. Lift from the inner muscles of your arms to the top of both shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and toward your tailbone. Broaden across your collarbones.
13. Rotate your arms externally so your elbow creases face your thumbs.
14. Draw your chest toward your thighs as you continue to press the mat away from you, lengthening and decompressing your spine.
15. Engage your quadriceps. Rotate your thighs inward as you continue to lift your sit bones high. Sink your heels toward the floor.
16. Align your ears with your upper arms. Relax your head, but do not let it dangle. Gaze between your legs or toward your navel.
17. To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to your hands and knees.

Use of a Props or Modified Versions
1. Placing the heels at the base of the wall can provide stability.
2. Using blocks under hands can take weight of shoulders.
3. Actually performing the pose at the wall can be excellent to reduce the hamstring stretch, however this is still a fairly intense shoulder stretch. More emphasis is placed on core engagement with standing ‘downward dog’ . Place hands on wall slightly wider than should distance and step feet back one at a time until spine is parallel to the floor. The feet can be repositioned to lessen the shoulder stretch

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. If you have a shoulder injury consult your physician and follow their directions.
c. For individuals with Hamstring injuries, please bend knees generously.
d. If you have high blood pressure, eye infections or inner ear infections do not do the pose.
e. For wrist injury or severe carpal tunnel syndrome this pose is not recommended. The modified wall version may be acceptable, however consult your physician first.
f. For wrist soreness, if cleared by physician use blocks, or come to fists, alternately using the wall is an excellent way to take stress off the wrist by doing the pose in a standing position.
g. Pregnant women in the first trimester can generally practice downward facing dog and the variants provided there are no other underlying medical conditions. Women should avoid in late term pregnancy.

Triangle Pose

Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle) builds on our foundational poses of Warrior II and Mountain pose. The opposition comes from rooting into the feet whilst stretching with the arms. Again, we see the foundation of mountain as our legs ground and the upper body moves in opposition. This pose opens the heart and extends the spine.

The Legs are solid and we see a firming of the inner groin for stability as we push to the outer edge of the back foot rooting us in the back leg and moving the body forward for a deep full side body stretch

Body Parts Effected: Ankle, legs, thighs, hips, shoulders core
Preparatory poses: Mountain Pose, Warrior II
Pose type: Standing Pose
Also known as: Utthita Trikonasana (Utthita = Extended, Tri = Three, Kona = Angle, Asana = Pose)

1. Standing in Mountain pose step the right leg behind, this is a long stride, aligning the feet in a heel to arch alignment with the toes of the right foot point away from the body at a 45 degree angle. The feet should be generously separated.
2. Reaching the left arm forward until the extension of the spine has reached a comfortable stretch.
3. Allow the left hand to gently press onto the left leg, above or below the knee. Never on the knee, the knee is a hinge not a rotational element.
4. Allow the knees to be straight on both legs, do not lock the knees.
5. Begin to focus on opening up the right hip by “stacking” it over the left. Feel as though you are against a wall and that you are trying to place your body in 2 dimensions.
6. Gently open the waist to begin to align the right waist over the left.
7. Finally open the right shoulder, moving it back in space to stack over the left shoulder
8. Extend the right arm directly above the right shoulder.
9. Gaze turns up toward right hand.
10. The left hand should be gently resting on the left leg but not pushing on it as your chest rotates towards the sky.
11. To exit the pose, look down, soften the left knee gently inhaling to standing maybe passing through Warrior 2 pose.
12. Rotate onto back right ball of foot and step feet together at top of mat back in Mountain Pose.

Use of a Props and Modifications
1. Setting the back foot at the base of a wall can help with grounding of back foot.
2. For Balance using a wall as a prop, align your front foot pinky toe edge to the wall and step foot back with heel at base of wall. As you move into the pose you will have the wall as your full body prop.
3. Using a block to either the inside or outside of the leg to rest the hand.
4. Looking down at the front foot to remove neck strain.
5. Wrapping top arm behind the back is excellent for shoulder pain.
6. Also placing hand of top arm on hip is an excellent way to reduce strain on arm/shoulder.
7. For added core strength and balance, float bottom hand away from floor or leg.
8. Extending both the bottom and top arm alongside the ears will strengthen core and obliques.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Anyone low blood pressure or headaches should not practice the pose.
c. If you have high blood pressure, looking down is preferable in this pose.
d. If you are experiencing menstrual cramping this is an excellent pose helping to stretch the abdominal wall.
e. Anyone with neck injuries should always look down in this pose.
f. Anyone with shoulder injuries should wrap the arm behind back, lay along side or hand at hip to reduce shoulder strain.

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)

Warrior II

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) is a foundational pose of yoga. It is built from our knowledge of mountain pose (week 1 lesson) and warrior I pose (week 3).Warrior II is the essence of yoga, it is the union of opposition. It allows us to reach into the past and the future, whilst holding us FIRMLY in our present. This pose is universal in its strength and its softness just as we felt in Warrior I. Our base is grounded the foundation, our legs are like the mountain, our arms light as feathers with grace and strength.

This pose opens the hips, it is intense on the inner groin whilst strengthening the hips, back and core. The quadriceps are required to work to maintain the shape of the pose as we engage the hamstrings of the back leg.

The intensity of the pose frees the mind to fly as our arms extend infinitely from our body.

Body Parts Effected: Entire Leg, strengthens ankle, groin, hip flexors, shoulders and arms, core
Preparatory poses: Mountain Pose, Warrior I
Pose type: Standing Pose
Also known as: Virabhadrasana II (Virabhadra = warrior, Asana = Pose)

1. Standing in Mountain pose step the right leg behind, this is a long stride, aligning the feet in a heel to arch alignment with the toes of the right foot point away from the body at a 45 degree angle. The feet should be generously separated.
2. Gently sink into the left leg bringing the thigh parallel to the ground, working towards a 90 degree bend. The Left knee should be centered over the left ankle tracking the knee towards the left edge of the foot to maintain alignment and provide stability in the pose.
3. Focusing on the back right leg, lift the arch of the right foot and engage the outer right leg. Lift the right knee cap. Gaze should be forward.
4. This is an open hip position, the groin is stretching, the torso and hips are squaring to the side of the room, the shoulders are aligned over the hips.
5. Extend the arms front and back, they should be centered over the hips, with the arms long and straight, but not stiff there is a lightness in the pose.
6. Rotating the palms up will drop the shoulders then slowly turning palms down.
7. Pull navel to your spine, drop the tailbone towards the mat.
8. Breathe deeply and allow the shoulders to fall away from the ears as the shoulder blades draw down your back.
9. Rotate onto back right ball of foot and step feet together at top of mat back in Mountain Pose.

Use of a Props and Modifications
1. Setting the back foot at the base of a wall can help with grounding of back foot.
2. For Balance using a wall to reach towards can be helpful.
3. Shortening the stance may be helpful for some to build strength in the legs.
4. Dropping the back knee to the mat is an option for this pose.
5. Place hands on hips to release shoulder strain.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Anyone with hip or knee injuries or recent surgery should avoid pose.
c. High Blood Pressure or heart conditions. This pose can be modified to a version with the knee down and not placing hands above heart level.
d. Anyone with neck injuries should avoid turning head over front leg and maintain level head towards the direction of the hips.
e. Shoulder injuries, keep hands at hips or bring to Namaste at heart.

Warrior I

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) is a foundational pose of yoga. It is built from our knowledge of mountain pose (week 1 lesson). Entering this pose we rise into it triumphantly. Holding a shape that is both strength and softness. The foundation our legs are like the mountain, our arms light as feathers with grace and strength.

This pose gives us all of the elements that we will need to build on our yoga practice, we work into our hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, core to lift us into the pose.

Warrior I challenges our mind, building strength in our body whilst opening us to inner peace, tranquility and a meditation practice as we find peace in our challenge.

Body Parts Effected: Entire Leg, groin, shoulders and arms, core
Preparatory poses: Mountain Pose
Pose type: Standing Pose
Also known as: Virabhadrasana I (Virabhadra = warrior, Asana = Pose)

1. Standing in Mountain pose step the right leg behind, this should be a fairly long stride, aligning the feet in a heel to heel alignment with the toes of the right foot point away from the body at a 45 degree angle. The feet should be generously separated.
2. Gently sink into the left leg bringing the thigh parallel to the ground. The Left knee should be centered over the left ankle tracking the knee towards the left edge of the foot to maintain alignment and provide stability in the pose.
3. Focusing on the back right leg, lift the arch of the right foot and engage the outer right leg. Lift the right knee cap. Gaze should be forward.
4. The left hip point will move back I space and the right hip point will come forward. The hips are in a closed position and will not square fully to the front of your mat.
5. Rotate the shoulders so that they do square.
6. Pull navel to your spine, drop the tailbone towards the mat.
7. Breathe deeply and allow the shoulders to fall away from the ears as the shoulder blades draw down your back.
8. Rotate onto back right ball of foot and step feet together at top of mat back in Mountain Pose.

Use of a Props and Modifications
1. Setting the back foot at the base of a wall can help with grounding of back foot.
2. For Balance using a wall to reach towards can be helpful.
3. Stepping the back foot to the side of the mat one foot distance will give a more square hip position and provide more stability.
4. Place hands on hips to release shoulder strain.
5. Positioning the chin level to the mat can provide less strain on the neck than looking up.
6. Dropping back knee onto mat is an option for this pose.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Anyone with knee injury or recent knee surgery should less the bend in the front knee
c. High Blood Pressure or heart conditions. This pose can be modified to a version with the knee down and not placing hands above heart level.
d. Shoulder injuries, keep hands at hips or bring to Namaste at heart.

Child’s Pose

Balasana (Child’s Pose) is natural to us when we are children, so why shouldn’t it be when we are adults. This pose brings us to our natural selves, connecting to the earth, connecting to our breath and finally connecting to the Universe for which we have all come. We are children of the stars.

This pose is fundamental in bringing ourselves into a natural state of existence. It does not require of us but asks us to let go, to BE and to accept.

Body Parts Effected: Hip opener, spinal extension, ankle and quadriceps release
Preparatory poses: Foundational pose
Pose type: Seated, forward fold, restorative
Also known as: Balasana (Bala =child, Asana = Pose)

1. Place hands and knees on mat, allow knees to come wide, toes come together.
2. For a gentler hip opener keep knees closer together, there will be more rounding through spine and upper shoulder blades.
3. Begin to fold at the waist, lengthening the torso out along the upper thighs, slightly rounding the back.
4. Gently begin to bring forehead to the mat or block.
5. Arms reach long in front of you palms down stretching long, or rest by your knees palms up relaxing the shoulder blades.
6. Draw the attention inward, letting the inhales fill your lungs and press your chest towards you thighs or the mat depending on width of the knees.
7. Breathe calmly and steady through the nose, lengthening the breath.

Use of a Props
1. If the forehead does not reach the mat a block, pillow or bolster can be used to support the head and ensure relaxation in the pose.
2. A blanket can be used behind the knees laying over the calves to help reduce strain and tight hip flexors.
3. If the tops of the feet feel sensitive placing a blanket under the feet is a good option.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Anyone with knee injury or recent knee surgery should avoid this pose
c. Pregnant women can generally practice Balasana without difficulty by widening the knees and not pressing into the thighs

Mountain Pose – Tadasana

Tadasana or Mountain Pose is the foundation for all standing poses. It helps us to engage our core to find our center and to build a foundation from which we build our asana (poses) practice. It can give us confidence, peace and bring us into a state of being.

The Mountain is an object revered for its beauty, solidity, and its steadfastness in the face of challenge. Our pose is the same, we are the Mountain from which all things spring forth.

Strengthens: Foot, Ankle, Knee, Thigh, Core, Breath
Preparatory poses: Foundational pose
Pose type: Standing
Also known as: Tadasana or Samsthitih (Tada =Mountain, Asana = Pose)

1. Placement of the feet parallel to each other and either together with heels slightly separated or feet hip’s distance apart. Hip’s distance is your two fists width.
2. Lift toes, begin to feel the edges of the feet, the balls of the feet and heels. Gently spread toes and rest on the mat.
3. Begin firming the legs, feeling the natural grounding.
4. The tailbone will point towards the mat, pulling the lower belly in towards the spine. This will center the core of your body and begin the alignment of the spine.
5. Open the palms to face forward at your sides, dropping your shoulder blades down the back.
6. Chin is level, eyes soft looking forward and slightly down to elongate the neck.
7. Breathe calmly and steady through the nose, lengthening the breath.

Use of a Block
1. Placing a block between the thighs and squeezing the block will improve the inner leg engagement allowing for a more centered and rooted pose. This action alone will engage the core more firmly and provide stability.
2. Tadasana when practiced properly will actually help relieve lower back pain and help improve balance.

Notes
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Those with high blood pressure/low blood pressure or anyone experiencing dizziness, fatigue or a medical condition that effects balance should discuss with their doctor before practicing this pose.
c. Pregnant women can generally practice Tadasana without difficulty but widening the stance is recommended.