Tadasana (palm tree pose)
1. Stand with the feet together or about 10 cm apart, and the arms by the sides.
2. Steady the body and distribute the weight equally on both feet.
3. Raise the arms over the head. Interlock the fingers and turn the palms upward. Place the hands on top of the head.
4. Fix the eyes at a point on the wall slightly above the level of the head. The eyes should remain fixed on this point throughout the practice.
5. Inhale and stretch the arms, shoulders and chest upward.
6. Raise the heels coming up onto the toes.
7. Stretch the whole body from top to bottom, without losing balance or moving the feet.
8. Hold the breath and the position for a few seconds. At first it may be difficult to maintain balance but with practice it becomes easier.
9. Lower the heels while breathing out and bring the hands to the top of the head.
This is one round. Relax for a few seconds before performing the next round. Practice 5 to 10 rounds.
Breathing: The breath should be synchronized with the raising and lowering of the arms.
Physical - on the breathing, maintaining balance and the stretch of the whole body from top to bottom.
Spiritual - initially on mooladhara chakra to provide stability; once balance is achieved, change to ajna.
Sequence: Tadasana can be followed by any inverted asana.
Benefits: This asana develops physical and mental balance. The entire spine is stretched and loosened, helping to clear up congestion of the spinal nerves at the points where they emerge from the spinal column. Tadasana stretches the rectus abdomini muscles and the intestines and is useful during the first six months of pregnancy to keep the abdominal muscles and nerves toned.
Variation I: Tadasana may also be performed while gazing up at the interlocked fingers. It will be slightly more difficult to maintain balance in the final position.
Variation 2: Stand in tadasana with both arms overhead. While balancing on the toes, lift one leg and extend it either forward or backward. Repeat with the other leg. Practise 10 times.
Practice note: Those practitioners who have mastered tadasana with the eyes open may try it with the eyes closed.
Note: This is one of the asanas for shankhaprakshalana.