One of the best goals that a student has shared with me was that he wanted to stand tall in a room. He meant this physically, mentally and emotionally and it has really stuck to me this day. The physical practice of standing tall creates an energy that impacts everyone else in the room including yourself. Check out this amazing Ted talk by Amy Cuddy if you want more info on this.
So how do you stand tall in a room?
In Yoga we give standing posture an actual name of Tadasana. This is a great example of how you can practice Yoga without lycra, without a mat and in everyday life.
That being said, stand on the mat. The feet can be together, big toes can touch if that feels okay. If you have tight IT bands or wide hips, I suggest placing a gap between the feet. Just ensure that the inside edges of the feet are as close to parallel as works for your body.
Notice your feet on the earth and try to equally distribute weight between the balls of the feet and the heels. Then spread the weight out evenly to the sides of the feet as well. Try lifting the toes and spreading and stretching them- try to feel air between each toe. (if you are not wearing shoes!)
Engage the thighs, not by pushing them back, but rather by lifting them up slightly allowing your knees to feel comfortable and face the same way. Roll your buttocks downwards, pointing the tailbone to the heels.
Strengthen the upper body.
Gently scoop in the abdominal muscles without tilting the hips!.
I like to think of this like “using the force,” then sucking it in through my belly button and toward the top of my head.
Proudly present the chest. Widen the collarbones. Breathe deeply to feel the expansion of the heart area. Then relax the shoulders.
Find a soft smile on the face. Jaw is relaxed. Find space between the eyebrows. Release stress and tension. Then pull the crown of the head toward the sky. Keep reaching upward and upward with the torso as the legs ground you down to the earth.
This is Tadasana.
Breathe deeply into this pose. Breathe in to this feeling of strength. Like a powerful mountain, you have a solid base and are full of majestic wonder. At your peak you can almost touch heaven, and at your base you are powerful and stable.
Try playing with this at home and then bringing it into situations where you need to feel tall and let us know how you go x