If you can line up your legs to be vertical - in your plumb line, stacking your bones to balance and bear weight you will be using your body in the most efficient way, rather than having any particular group of muscles working too hard. It's much easier to do this with your feet under your hips because of how gravity pulls on your body. Here's a quick lesson to explain exactly why and how!
You know what Tadasana, or mountain pose is? Standing on two feet. Yup, that’s it.
Nothing more. It’s just not as easy as it sounds, for most of us. One foot might be in more contact with the ground than the other. One shoulder might be up around our ears. Or both might be.
We might not be able to really feel our bodies, or tell what’s going on in them – even now, ten years on, I am still learning stuff about how I carry my body. Generally, if I’ve been unconscious of it, that stuff is not exactly…WELCOME…information. I mean, surely by now I’d be perfect?
Nah. Still practicing. That’s the beauty of yoga – you can practice without expecting to get perfect. The rest of our lives are so achievement focused, it’s nice to have one area that isn’t. And we can all practice standing on our feet, right?
I like to practice standing on my feet by lying on my back in savasana, corpse pose, because that way I have more feedback about what my body is doing: what are the curves of my spine dong? Does one leg feel longer than the other? Do the sides of my neck feel symmetrical? And so on.
You don’t necessarily need to change anything, just gather information about your habits.
Then, when you are ready, come to standing on your feet and repeat the exercise again.
What do you notice? Is it harder to tell what you are doing when just your feet are touching the floor?
This kind of awareness exercise is a great way to reconnect with your body. Believe it or not, if you just lie on your back, breathe, and get feedback from your body for a few minutes, you can count that as you practice.
Sometimes, if you are exhausted or sick, it’s the best kind of practice to do anyway!