Tada means mountain in Sanskrit. The most “basic” yoga standing pose, Tadasana is the foundation for all other postures. It enables us to find deep focus and concentration. Mountains are no small things. In this pose we stand tall and can explore our vastness and grandness with a deep sense of humility.
1. Stand with your big toes touching and heels slightly apart. Alternatively, stand with your feet hips distance apart with your feet parallel to one another.
2. Lift your toes, feel the entire ball mound of your foot rooting down and spiraling the mat outward while the heels hug toward each other. You inner and outer arches will draw up. Relax your toes to the earth, spreading them wide to provide a solid base.
3. Root to rise – Working up from your feet, feel the energy and activity work up your legs, lift through your kneecaps, which are faced over your toes, and activate through your quadriceps and hamstrings. Find a balance between internal rotation (adduction) and external rotation (abduction) in your thighs.
4. Moving through the middle body, lengthen your torso through front back and sides. Draw your navel in and chest forward.
5. Arms release along your sides, encouraging the shoulders to draw down. Optionally, rotate your biceps and palms forward or keep them turned to your side body.
6. Let your neck be an extension of your already lengthening spine, it is part of your spine after all, and let the lengthening continue right up through the top crown of your head.
7. Inhale fully, exhale fully, focus.
• Try not to fall back onto your heels or too far forward onto the balls of your feet. Similarly, find balance between inner foot, outer foot and left and right feet. This encourages structural stability and benefits everything above the feet – a house benefits when built on a strong and balanced foundation – same for your body.
• Feel the lift through your front body and ribs countered by a lift through your back body to avoid a “boinking” forward of the ribs or swayback.
• Gaze as if you are looking out over the horizon. Your chin is balanced in space to avoid a tucking of it in toward the heart, nor does it rise too far up causing a contraction through the neck.
• Mountains are living things, they are not dead – there is tons of activity on a mountain – flora, fauna, snowcaps collecting and melting and so on. Breathe life into your mountain – allow yourself to sway from left to right and forward and back, eventually finding your center. When you do settle in, let this be an experience of dynamic stillness.