Tadasana is a position in yoga wherein the individual stands with the feet parallel and hands loosely at the sides. The name derives from the Sanskrit word tada, which means mountain, and asana, meaning pose or posture. This is why Tadasana is also known as the mountain pose. It is a basic stance that is used as the foundation for many others, and acts as a restful pose in between more difficult ones. The work in this pose is conducted in terms of aligning the body minutely, and the individual may thus appear to observers to be simply standing there.
The pose is said to have several benefits for health and general well-being. Tadasana encourages good posture and proper alignment of the physical frame. It tones the leg muscles, strengthens the abdomen, and can benefit flat feet. It is also believed to relieve pain and swelling from sciatica, chronic pains in the back and legs exacerbated by bad posture.
Yoga enthusiasts credit Tadasana with increasing confidence, self-awareness, and peace, as well as creating space within the body. The concept of creating space within the body is the basis for the careful alignment of the frame during the pose. Internal organs are believed to perform more effectively when given more space within the body. More efficiency means improvement of bodily functions such as digestion, circulation, respiration, and elimination.
To engage in Tadasana, one stands with the feet together, hands at the sides, and eyes gazing forward. Deep breathing is practiced throughout the pose. Foot arches are lifted slightly and the toes kept pointing straight ahead. The toes are lifted, spread open, and then slowly lowered back down. The weight must be evenly distributed among the front, back, and sides of both feet. The eyes may be closed by choice, which will allow the feet to automatically adjust the body's weight.
The front thigh muscles are drawn upward, pulling the knees up while heels are still kept on the floor. Done correctly, the legs will remain straight while knees are no longer locked. The tailbone must be pointing to the ground, and the abdomen taut and pulled upward.
The body is lengthened by raising it up from the hips, creating space between them and the ribs. The shoulders are moved up during inhalation and lowered in exhalation. The collarbone is widened and shoulders held aligned with the hips. The head is lifted upward and the neck lengthened, keeping the chin level. The arms are stretched to the floor with fingers pointing toward the toes, upper arms facing outward while lower arms are limp. Palms are turned inward.
The extended mountain pose is another version of Tadasana. It is similar to the Tadasana, with the difference being in the arms. The arms are lifted up overhead on inhalation, and aligned with the shoulders. Others may prefer to press the palms together. The arms are held up for several breaths, and gently lowered on an exhale.