The Mountain Pose, also known as Tadasana, is a fundamental standing yoga pose that promotes balance and grounding. It is often the starting position for other poses, making it an essential part of any yoga practice. Despite its simplicity, the Mountain Pose requires focus and precision to perform correctly.
This pose is typically practiced in Hatha yoga and involves standing tall with your feet hip-width apart, your arms at your sides, and your gaze forward. The aim is to align your body in a straight line, from the crown of your head to your heels, while evenly distributing your weight across both feet.
Practicing the Mountain Pose under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor is recommended, especially for beginners. This is because, although it may seem straightforward, it requires proper alignment and technique to reap its full benefits and avoid strain or injury. The Mountain Pose is more than just standing; it’s about finding and maintaining balance, both physically and mentally.
|Sanskrit Name and Pronunciation||Tadasana (tah-DAHS-uh-nuh)|
How to Do the Mountain Pose
- Start in a standing position with your feet hip distance apart and your hands by your sides. This is known as Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
- Press your weight evenly across both feet, grounding yourself into the floor.
- Engage your thigh muscles and draw them upward, causing your kneecaps to rise.
- Tuck your tailbone in slightly, but don’t round your lower back. Keep your hips even and in line with your body.
- Pull your belly button in towards your spine, engaging your abdominal muscles.
- Broaden across your chest and collarbones, keeping your shoulders aligned directly over your hips.
- Keep your head directly over your shoulders and hips. Ensure your chin is parallel to the floor.
- Extend the crown of your head towards the sky, while keeping your shoulders relaxed and your shoulder blades drawing down your back.
- Turn your palms forward to open up your chest more.
- Hold this pose for several breaths, maintaining the alignment and engagement of your body.
- To exit the pose, simply relax your body and return to a normal standing position.
- Take a few deep breaths before repeating the pose if desired.
|Upper Body:||Deltoids, Rotator Cuffs, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Major, Biceps, Triceps|
|Core:||Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Transverse Abdominis|
|Back:||Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids|
|Glutes:||Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus|
|Legs:||Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Adductors, Gastrocnemius, Soleus|
While there are many research-backed mental and physical benefits of yoga, there are few — if any — official studies on the Mountain pose. However, it’s generally believed that practicing the Mountain pose provides several health benefits.
The Mountain pose requires a straight alignment of the body from head to toe. Practicing this pose can help improve posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine.
The Mountain pose requires engaging the core, thighs, and buttocks while keeping the legs straight and firm. Practicing this pose can help build strength in these areas over time.
The Mountain pose involves grounding the feet firmly on the floor and evenly distributing the body’s weight. This can help improve balance and stability.
Promotes Body Awareness
The Mountain pose requires focus on the body’s alignment and balance. This can increase body awareness and mindfulness, which can contribute to overall well-being.
The Mountain pose is a grounding pose that promotes calmness and stability. Practicing this pose can help relieve stress and promote relaxation.
The upright posture of the Mountain pose allows for better chest expansion and deeper breathing. This can enhance respiratory function and increase oxygen supply to the body.
Drawbacks and Risks
The Mountain Pose, while seemingly simple, also carries potential risks if not performed correctly.
Feet. The Mountain Pose requires the feet to be firmly planted on the ground. If not done correctly, it can lead to strain or injury to the feet or ankles.
Knees. In the Mountain Pose, the knees should be kept soft, not locked. Locking the knees can lead to hyperextension, causing strain or injury to the knee joint.
Lower Back. Incorrect posture during the Mountain Pose can lead to strain in the lower back. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine and avoid overarching or rounding the back.
Neck and Shoulders. The Mountain Pose requires the shoulders to be relaxed and the neck to be in line with the spine. Incorrect alignment can lead to tension in the neck and shoulders.
Balance. As a standing pose, the Mountain Pose requires good balance. There is a risk of falling and injury if balance is lost.
If you experience discomfort or pain while practicing this pose, stop immediately, modify it, or come out of it. It’s also important to warm up properly before attempting this pose and gradually build up to its full expression.
Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when practicing the Mountain pose.
- Not Grounding the Feet. The Mountain pose is all about grounding and balance. It’s important to evenly distribute your weight across both feet and avoid leaning too much on one side. This will help you maintain balance and stability in the pose.
- Locking the Knees. While it’s important to keep your legs straight in the Mountain pose, you should avoid locking your knees. This can put unnecessary strain on the joints and lead to discomfort or injury.
- Slouching the Shoulders. Proper alignment is key in the Mountain pose. Make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and down, away from your ears. Slouching or hunching the shoulders can lead to tension and strain in the neck and upper back.
- Not Engaging the Core. The Mountain pose is a full-body pose that requires engagement from all muscle groups. Make sure to engage your core muscles to help maintain proper alignment and stability in the pose.
- Ignoring the Breath. The Mountain pose is a great opportunity to focus on your breath. Ignoring the breath can lead to tension and stress. Make sure to take deep, controlled breaths in and out through the nose to help calm the mind and body.
- Not Using Props. If you’re new to the Mountain pose or have balance issues, it can be helpful to use props such as a wall or a chair for support. This can help you find proper alignment and stability in the pose.
Modifications and Variations
If you’re new to the Mountain Pose or have limited flexibility or strength, several modifications can help you build up to the full expression of the pose. Here are some modifications to try:
If you’re having trouble maintaining balance or keeping your feet flat on the ground, you can use props such as blocks or blankets to support your body and help you find proper alignment. Place the blocks or blankets under your feet to help lift your body off the ground.
Practice with a Wall
If you’re having trouble finding balance in the Mountain Pose, try practicing with a wall for support. Stand with your back against the wall and try to maintain the pose. This modification can help you find stability and build confidence in the pose.
Practice the Chair Pose
This pose can help strengthen the leg muscles, preparing you for the Mountain Pose. To do this, stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees, and lower your hips as if you’re sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight and your hands at your heart center or reach them up towards the sky.
Practice on Your Toes
If you have trouble keeping your feet flat on the ground, you can try practicing on your toes. This modification can help you build strength and stability in the pose.
Remember, it’s okay to modify poses to suit your body’s needs. Yoga is about finding balance and comfort in each pose, not about pushing your body to its limits. Always listen to your body and modify as needed.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.