The pose tadasana is a standard part of any yoga flow. It typically comes before a vinyasa, the start of class, and throughout a standing sequence.
When standing in tadasana, you are encouraged to develop a sensation that you are growing roots through your body that leave the soles of your feet. You are being rooted into your mat, into that time and place, to feel grounded in your practice. With arms placed at your side, overhead, or at heart center, think about engaging your arm muscles and bringing intention to your fingers. In this pose, your body is engaged and your mind is clear. You might feel as though you are soaring, though rooted to your mat. When done correctly, tadasana engages every muscle in your body. By doing so, it helps improve posture and balance, and can make focusing easier. Tadasana is the basis for all standing poses and inversions. Once you’ve mastered the correct posture for tadasana, extend all of the alignment tips to all of your standing poses and inversions.
As with all yoga poses, there is a proper way to do this pose. Below you will find 6 alignment cues to keep in mind as you practice your tadasana, or mountain, pose.
1. Your big toes should touch. Your heels can touch, though they do not have to. To modify, stand with your feet slightly apart. Once your feet are on the ground, lift your toes, widen them, and then place them back down on the mat, pinky toes to big toes. This widens your foot and supports the grounding sensation.
2. Ground into your feet by evenly distributing your weight to the four corners of your sole. Avoid leaning forward and backward. Instead, think about standing with your hips over your heels, your shoulders over your hips, and your head over your shoulders.
3. Tuck your tailbone down and forward so as to remove the unnatural curve in your spine. This will also help you engage your abdominal muscles.
4. Engage your leg muscles, bringing muscle to bone, without locking your knees.
5. If you are standing with your arms at your sides or at heart center, shrug your shoulders, then roll them back and down. This allows you to broaden across your chest and further engage your arm muscles. If you are standing with arms raised overhead, try to bring your shoulder blades down your back, toward the ground, and lower your shoulders from your ears.
6. Lengthen your neck and allow the top of your head to rise towards the ceiling. Remember, head is directly over the shoulders. Imagine that a line of energy is traveling along your spine and out the top of your head.
Every time you stand in tadasana, or any other standing pose, remember these alignment cues. Recite them in your mind. Before long, the correct tadasana alignment will become natural to you.