I feel there are five fundamental parts necessary to begin and maintain your yoga practice. Therefore, I will review the fundamentals of yoga, in a five part series. These elements are subjective because each individual will decide what they need for their individual practice. I offer my opinion based on knowledge that is learned and practiced now.
Yoga means to yoke or unite. The goal of yoga is to unite oneself with G-d. The practice of yoga is how you get there. In this feature we will look closely at the first element and look for the second part of the following four features in one month, June 30th.
We will use the lotus position as the primary example for posture for seated yoga, for standing yoga we use Tadasana in most types of yoga; but in Dao Yin Yoga we use horse stance. We use these postures for meditation, which is the key to finding the purpose of yoga. The first and meditative position creates the foundation from which our practice develops fully.
Moving on from our beginning posture there is the balance and difference between stillness and motion in and through various postures. Sitting in a crossed-legged position or standing upright in stillness helps to establish the control, awareness and connection to the fundamental elements of all posture/s.
There are two very important components of posture to become aware and familiar with in yoga.
In seated yoga, beginning in lotus position, we have our sit bones (ischial tuberosites) planted into the Earth. Using the dimes you sit on every day you draw them down to ground you. Sitting we feel this connection to the Earth. Take time and experience that sensation.
Standing postures we use our feet. A good practice is to lift up your toes and replant them into the Earth. Then, feel the soles of your feet equally planted into the ground at the ball, heel, left and right side of the foot. Notice and enjoy the balance and steadiness that this grounding offers your entire body.
Although these suggestions sound simple it is essential to begin from here to make entire self: Mind. Body. Spirit present.
In yoga we try to elongate the spine whether sitting or standing. In seated Dao Yin Yoga we start with the spine in the center of our hips and begin at the base of the spine stacking each vertebrae one on top of the next to allow our chest to be open and the shoulders drawn down, finding your nostrils will be flesh with the Earth; so, that the head is in alignment with the spine.
This way the crown will be open to giving and receiving energy from Heaven and the root will be open to receive energy from the Heavens.
In standing Dao Yin Yoga, you must take time to allow the whole body to draw into alignment. Place the feet together (toes and heels). Lift up your toes, and then replace them back down into the Earth (grounding). Palms are naturally at your sides, then lift up your shoulders and roll them back.
Next, turn your feet out, then turn your toes in, then lift up your feet and place the feet straightforward. This realigns the bottom of your muscular skeletal system.
Lift your palms from the side of the body up to connect thumb and index fingers to create a triangle. Draw your palms down just underneath your root (3 inches under your navel 3 inches into the body). This signifies your root position. Bend your knees over your ankles. Turn your hips under, stack your spine, open your chest, relax your shoulders, check that your head so that it is in alignment with your spine.
Now you have properly aligned yourself in a standing posture; so, that the crown is open to giving and receiving energy from Heaven and the root will be open to receive energy from the Earth.
For the sake that I teach the Chinese form of yoga, Dao Yin, and because there is plenty of information on the alignment of Tadasana; I will leave that explanation to a link at the bottom of this post.
No matter what type of yoga you practice you want to lengthen spine in both directions to allow the elongation of the spine. Creating an isometric pull in opposite directions.