Yes, Tadasana (also known as Mountain pose) looks like you’re just standing there. However, anyone who is a people watcher will tell you that when people are still, they do not normally stand like this. Any number of variations can occur, but I’d say the most popular are to have the feet wider than the hips, one or both feet turned out, and a curving of the spine either to a side or decidedly forward.
These observations of others at rest indicate that Tadasana is not merely standing. Those who have been practicing this pose with mindfulness, cultivating the mind/body connection, already know that there is so much work that happens to execute this pose correctly.
- Bring the heels in line with your SITs bones. If you have SI joint issues (tailbone pain) or are pregnant, you can bring your feet wider. If you don’t have these issues, I recommend that you work on bringing your feet in line with your SITs bones to help activate the adductors (inner thigh muscles). The adductors are often underused, and there has been research to show that adductor engagement leads to abdominal engagement in 75% of people. If the odds are in your favor, finding your inner thighs will also help you trim your waist.
- Lift your toes so that you feel the 4 corners of your feet pressing down in to the earth. You are looking for the point under your big toe, the point under your little toe, and the inside and outside of your heel. By lifting your toes, you are engaging the muscles in your feet and ankles, hugging them to the bone to build strength in a neutral position. If you read my article on assessing your own posture, you might remember that in a postural assessment, I always start with the feet. Your feet are your foundation and the building block upon which the rest of your body depends. That might sound like a very dramatic statement about feet, but it’s true.
- As the 4 corners of your feet press in to the ground, feel the muscles in your feet and ankles hug to the bones. Let that energetic lift continue from the ground all the way up through the top of your head.
The Legs, Torso and Head for Tadasana
- Activate your legs by engaging your quadriceps (thigh muscles) to lift the knee cap.
- Make sure the pelvis is in neutral (not tucked) and the sacrum is long. If you are doing this, you will have a neutral curve in your lumbar spine (low back).
- Use the energetic lift to create more space between the rib cage and pelvis. Make sure the rib cage is directly above the pelvis. This will also help you engage your abdominals.
- Relax the shoulders away from the ears as you broaden your collarbones.
- Let your head be the natural top. floating up toward the ceiling. Draw the chin in slightly to make sure you are in optimal neutral alignment all the way through your body.
The Arms for Tadasana
There are two usual choices for the arms for Tadasana. Once you get your alignment and broaden across the collarbones, you can bring your hands up to prayer position. In prayer position, the palms lightly touch, the fingers spread, and the thumbs touch your breastbone.
Or, you can broaden the collarbones, rotate your shoulders open, and reach your arms by your sides with your palms facing forward. The palms should face completely forward (as opposed to facing your thighs), and there should be an energetic reach through each finger toward the floor.
Once you chose how you would like to place your arms, inhale and exhale 8 slow breaths.
Another Variation of Tadasana
Now that we are all set up in Tadasana, we can stay in this pose or we can work on opening the heart chakra.
- Establish yourself in Tadasana as described above and with one of the two arm positions.
- Feel the energy flowing through your body and lightly draw your belly button toward your spine. This lifts the rib cage away from the hips and support and stabilize the lumbar spine (low back).
- Think of rotating your sternum (breastbone) so that it is trying to open toward the ceiling.
- Allow your head and gaze to move with your sternum.
- Feel the mid-back spine open.
- Inhale and exhale 8 times.
If you would like, here is a video of me explaining Tadasana.
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What do you enjoy most about Tadasana? Let me know in the comments below.