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Yoga Poses

3 Ways to Modify Tadasana + Stay Present

Learn how to modify Mountain Pose (Tadasana) if needed 
to find safe alignment for your body.

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Modify Tadasana if needed to find safe alignment for your body.

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If you experience 
low-back pain …

Try standing with your feet hip-
distance apart. Widening your stance has the same benefits as standard Tadasana, but it makes it easier to balance by distributing weight effortlessly down each leg. When the legs are together, most people internally rotate their legs and then try to balance by sticking out their rear end, causing some low-back tension. If you can adapt this pose to find comfort, you’ll be able to likewise modify more complex poses. This modification will also help if you have knock-knees or a wider pelvis.

See alsoWatch + Learn: Mountain Pose

If you are still overarching your lower back …

Try creating core stability by hugging in the sides of your waist. Start with your feet hip-distance apart, knees aligned over your second and third toes. Bring your hands to your waist and squeeze. This will help you find your transverse abdominis, deep core muscles that wrap around your waist and serve as a corset of sorts to stabilize your lumbar spine. With your hands on your waist, exhale and feel the transverse abdominis working as you pull your low belly up and in (the same action as when you sneeze or cough). Having your hands there is a nice reminder to keep these core muscles engaged.

See also Anatomy 101: Understanding Your Sacroiliac Joint

If you feel unstable 
in Tadasana (and in your inversions) …

Try squeezing a block between the upper inner thighs in order to activate the adductors, the muscles along your inner thighs that bring your legs closer together and help to engage your pelvic floor and other core-stabilizing muscles like your obliques, or the superficial core muscles along your sides. Your adductors, along with your abductors, or outer thighs, and gluteus medius help stabilize your hip joints. When these joints are in a neutral position, it is easier to line up everything else, from your core and lower back to your head.

See alsoGet Grounded with Sun Salutes and Standing Poses

Stay in the moment

I call Mountain Pose the second most advanced posture taught in yoga class, with Savasana (Corpse Pose) being the most difficult (because it can be hard to be still). Tadasana is a seemingly mundane posture that we do over and over, but the trick with this pose, and yoga in general, is to pay very close attention and make choices in the moment, instead of thinking, “I’ve got this,” based on past experience. Don’t worry about being perfect—whether it’s here, in more complicated poses like Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana), or in life in general. Do what’s wise for you in the moment, no matter how different that is from what you did yesterday, or what the person next to you is doing today. This is what being a smart yoga practitioner is all about.

See also Ask the Expert: How Do I Know I’m Ready to Try Headstand?

About Our Pro

Alexandria Crow yoga teacher

Teacher and model Alexandria Crow is a former competitive gymnast whose yoga experience has been about transformation. She guides her students step by step through creative sequences, challenging them to stay conscious of their body’s strengths and limitations in the present moment. Crow teaches slow-moving, vinyasa-based therapeutic classes catered to the needs of individuals. You can find her at YogaWorks in Santa Monica, California; giving workshops around the world; and at alexandriacrow.com.