Tadasana (tah-DAH-sana) may not look like theres much going on, but the pose, also called Mountain Pose is the foundation of a yoga practice. Tadasana sets the tone for your practice and allows you to get settled and properly aligned before beginning your asana practice.
Its easy to throw this posture away both at the beginning and throughout the practice, but doing that is doing a great disservice to yourself.
Getting into Tadasana
To truly align yourself in Mountain Pose its best to start at the bottom and move your way up your body.
Stand at the top of your mat and place your feet together with your big toes touching. Your heels can be touching or slightly separated. To make sure you are creating a solid foundation, lift your toes and feel your weight evenly distributed through both feet. Spread your toes and place them back down.
Feel your feet and legs rooted down on the mat. Engage your quadriceps, raising your kneecaps, but take caution not to lock your knees. Create a slight inward rotation with your thighs. You should notice an opening of your hips, creating space for your tailbone to tuck under. The goal is not to tilt your pelvis but simply to put your hips into a neutral position that allows your spine to lengthen.
Draw your navel toward your spine and your shoulder blades down your back. Notice where your shoulders are situated. They should be in line with your pelvis. Lengthen your neck to continue that straight line. The line culminates with the crown of your head reaching toward the sky.
Extend your arms straight down from your shoulders with your palms facing forward. Keep them strong with your fingertips reaching for the earth.
Keep your gaze forward with your eyelids soft. Take this moment to breathe even engage Ujjayi breathing if that is part of your practice.
Tips for Beginners
You may find it useful to use a wall to make sure your alignment is correct. Stand with your heels against the wall. Your shoulders, hips and the back of your head should be touching it too. You may also find it useful to place a block vertically between your thighs to help with the inward rotation.
Benefits of Tadasana
Mountain Pose is about more than just standing on your mat. It helps you to get centered and create a foundation for your practice.
It is also a strengthening pose. Mountain Pose creates strength in your legs and back. And, if you do it right, you might also feel it in your abs and glutes. Done correctly and often, it can improve your posture off the mat.
Tadasana is always there for you to return to as a place to get settled, to check back into proper alignment and a place to just breathe.