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Though Tadasana (Mountain Pose) might seem simple, it is actually a deeply vital foundational pose for your yoga practice. It is considered the baseline for the many other standing poses in yoga, so correctly learning this posture is essential.
There’s actually a lot to pay attention to in this seemingly straightforward pose. In Tadasana you stand upright with your feet facing forward parallel to each other. Your hips, knees, and ankles should stack evenly over one another. Check the position of your pelvis. Is it level with the tailbone in a neutral position following the natural curve of the spine? Because this pose requires you to keep the shoulders open and down, away from the ears, it serves to improve posture. The empowering nature of Tadasana also enhances stability and promotes self-esteem and inner strength.
“I used to get into Tadasana pose without really thinking,” says Yoga Journal contributing editor Gina Tomaine, “But once I dug deeper into my yoga practice, I realized there were so many minuscule movements I needed to be aware of in order to truly embody this pose: bringing my shoulders down, pulling my shoulder blades toward my spine, softening my knees. What had once been a simple beginning stance became, for me, a physical embodiment of inner stability, peace, and intentionality in my yoga practice and my life. Now it’s one of my favorite poses.”
Mountain Pose basics
Sanskrit: Tadasana (tah-DAHS-anna)
Post type: Standing posture
Targets: Full body
Why we love it: “On the outside, Mountain Pose looks extremely simple, but internally the muscles are active, strong, and working hard. These three reminders help me initiate a firm Mountain Pose every time: Root through all sides of the feet as if I am grasping the ground with my ‘yogi toes.’ Externally rotate the quads aligning the knees and hips. Elongate from the pelvis through the top of your head. I notice where my body is tugging from stress or lack of movement. I notice when my mind is not present by how tight I’m clenching my mouth. Over time, I have learned that the best way to think of Mountain Pose is to be mindful of the muscles that should be engaged and strong, but be extra mindful of the areas that should be tender and soft.” —Stephany McMillan, founder of Rise and Flow Yoga in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Mountain Pose acts as the foundation for other poses. Mentally, it tests your focus and concentration. On a physical level, it improves your posture, strengthens your thighs, knees, and ankles, firms your abdomen and buttocks, relieves sciatica, and reduces flat feet.
Mountain Pose: Step-by-step instructions
- Stand with the feel parallel, a few inches apart. (Alternately you may stand with the bases of your big toes touching, heels slightly apart.
- Lift and spread your toes and the balls of your feet, then lay them softly back down on the floor. Rock gently back and forth and side to side. Gradually reduce this swaying to a standstill, with your weight balanced evenly across your feet. Feel the energy draw from your feet up through your core.
- Without pushing your lower front ribs forward, lift the top of your sternum straight toward the ceiling. Widen your collarbones. Allow your shoulder blades to draw toward each other and down the back, away from the ears.
- Let your arms relax beside your torso, palms facing in or forward.
- Balance the crown of your head directly over the center of your pelvis, with the underside of your chin parallel to the floor, throat soft, and tongue wide and flat on the floor of your mouth. Soften your eyes. Breathe.
These tips will help protect your students from injury and help them have the best experience of the pose:
- Advise your students to be mindful of any unwitting tendency to round their shoulders or stand with a collapsed chest. But neither should they be ramrod stiff. Instead, focus on standing tall—pull your shoulder blades together at your back, soften your shoulders away from your ears, and lift up through the top of your head.
- Remind students to keep feet pointed straight ahead and to stand strong in all four corners of the feet. Watch them for pronation or supination—rolling the feet in toward the arch or toward the outer edge of the foot.
- Advise students to avoid locking the knees out in this posture, and to continually soften their knees as they breathe in and out.
Your stance is extremely important. To begin with a balanced Mountain Pose: Place your feet where they naturally fall when you walk forward, and leave a few inches between them. Keep your hips and knees facing forward.
Try to gently activate your core to keep your stance strong and retain the pose’s integrity, and prevent yourself from locking your joints.
Variation: Mountain Pose with feet hip-distance apart
Tadasana is a prep pose for any standing asana. To prepare for this pose bring attention to breath, grounding, and alignment.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Savasana (Corpse Pose)