Mountain Pose is a foundational pose that is great for beginners and experienced yogis alike. While Tadasana looks simple, it is actually a very complex pose that can help strengthen the legs, core, and back muscles to improve posture. It is also a great pose to practice mindful breathing and to become grounded and centered. With its many physical and mental benefits, Tadasana is an excellent pose to include in your yoga practice.
Meaning of the asana
The name Tadasana is derived from the Sanskrit words tada (meaning “mountain”) and asana (meaning “pose”). It is also known as Samasthiti, which translates to “equal standing”. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) is a foundational yoga pose that is commonly used at the beginning of a yoga practice and is the foundation for most standing asanas.
Mountain Pose is a pose of stillness and awareness, and serves as a reminder to connect with your inner strength and stability. It is a basic standing pose that promotes balance, core strength, and groundedness. With proper instruction, you can easily incorporate Mountain Pose into your daily yoga practice for maximum benefit.
1. From a standing position, bring the feet together or hip width apart, parallel. Lift up the toes, spread them wide and place them back on the floor. Feel your weight evenly balanced through the bottom of each foot, not leaning forward or back.
2. Pull up the knee caps, squeeze the thighs and tuck the tailbone slightly under. Feel the hips aligned directly over the ankles. The legs are straight, but the knees are not locked back.
3. Inhale and lift out of the waist, pressing the crown of the head up towards the ceiling, feeling the spine long and straight.
4. Exhale and drop the shoulders down and back as you reach the fingertips towards the floor. Gently press the chest / sternum towards the front of the room.
5. Continuing to reach out through the fingers, inhale the arms up, turning the palms shoulder height, bringing the arms into a H position.
6. Exhale, relax the shoulders down from the ears while still reaching the crown and fingers up.
7. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths.
8. To release: exhale the arms down to your sides or bring the palms together in front of your chest.
Benefits + Contraindications
Benefits: Mountain pose is the foundation for all of the standing postures and improves posture, groundedness, stability and body awareness. Physically, it helps to improve alignment and balance, which can be beneficial to other poses and daily movements. It also helps to increase height, improves spinal health, strengthens the leg muscles, and gently engages the abdominal muscles. On a mental level, this pose encourages focus and alertness, creating a sense of inner peace and stability. Mentally, it encourages balance, stillness, and strength, helping to cultivate a sense of being rooted in the present moment. Emotionally, it helps to promote self-confidence, openness, and mental clarity.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the shoulders.
Modifications + Variations
Modifications: Stand with your back against a wall and gently lean into the wall for support and alignment awareness.
Variations: There are multiple variations on the placement of the hands: A) Fingers interlaced with index finger pointing up, B) Arms down with the palms resting against the outer thighs, C) Palms together in front of the heart in Anjali mudra.
Anatomy of the Asana
- Erector Spinae: The erector spinae are deep back muscles that extend from the skull to the base of the spine and are used to help maintain posture and stability.
- Quadriceps: When practicing Mountain Pose, your quadriceps muscles should be lightly engaged to help support your body’s weight and root down through the legs.
- Gluteus: The gluteus muscles of your buttocks should be slightly engaged in order to help keep your spine and pelvis aligned.
- Abdominal Muscles: Engaging your abdominal muscles can help to support your core and maintain a neutral pelvis.
- Hamstrings: Your hamstrings should be slightly stretched when practicing Mountain Pose, as this helps to promote balance and stability.
- Adductors: The inner thigh muscles, or adductors, of the back leg should resist stretch in order to help align the body.
- Hip Flexors: Engaging the hip flexors in Mountain Pose can help to better align your hips and create a stable base for the pose.
- Shoulder Muscles: When practicing Mountain Pose, your shoulder muscles should be engaged to help lift and your arms over your head and lift the chest.
- Upper Back Muscles: Your upper back muscles should be engaged in Mountain Pose in order to open through the chest and keep your spine straight and aligned.
Common mistakes and misalignments
When practicing Tadasana, many beginners make common mistakes such as leaning forward, putting weight in their toes, and rounding their shoulders forward. To avoid these mistakes, it is important to keep the hips right above the ankles, weight evenly distributed through the feet, the shoulder blades pulling towards each other and down towards the hips, and the lower back in a neutral position. It is important to keep the body stacked with a plum line down the center, shoulders in line with the hips, and tailbone lengthened towards the floor. Finally, another mistake is not keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. When you press your feet into the ground, it helps to create stability and balance in the pose.
Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Standing Forward Fold, Five Pointed Star, Warrior I.
Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Crescent Moon, Standing Squat, Standing Forward Fold, Five Pointed Star, Tree.
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