Tadasana also known as Samasthiti is the starting or foundation pose for many of the standing poses. Tadaha (ताडः) means a mountain in sanskrit. When standing with hands down and palms by your side it is likened to be standing like a mountain.
Tadasana would seem to be deceptively simple when looked at. After all what is so difficult about standing straight. We do know how to stand straight we all do it everyday for sure. Well… not really. We do stand but rarely do we take the time to observe how it feels to stand. Give it a try. Stand still, tall and straight hands down palm relaxed by your sides. How does it feel? Were you able to stand completely still? Most probably not. You will feel your self sway forward and back or side to side just a wee bit. A balance board like Wii Fit balance board would really tell you how much of a sway you do have or how uneven your stance it.
Standing straight and balancing perfectly on both legs is not easy. Something as simple as practicing to stand in Tadasana can help combat the degenerative effect of aging on the spine, legs and feet. It helps correct muscle imbalances, improves posture, and deepens awareness.
While there are numerous books with detailed explanations about how to stand in Tadasana, these can tend to be overwhelming. Below is a step by step breakdown and some of the basic points to remember while standing in Tadasana.
Getting into Tadasana
- Stand with feet together or slightly apart and parallel to each other. Preferably no more than hip width apart.
- Press the four corners of the feet into the ground and relax the toes.
- Lift the arches of the feet and press into the outer edges of your feet.
- Keep your knees relaxed and do not stiffen them.
- Engage your quadriceps and lift your kneecaps upward slightly.
- Bring your pelvis into a neutral position, maintaining the natural curve of your low back.
- Pull the lower belly up and activate your core muscles.
- Stretch down from underneath the ribcage all the way down to the legs and the feet.
- Elongate your spine and broaden your chest.
- Draw your shoulder blades together and down the back.
- Relax your arms by your sides with your palms facing towards the things.
- Elongate and activate your fingers. Keep them together.
- Keep your stomach relaxed and take slow, deep breaths.
- Hold this position for up to a minute.
Some of these instructions may actually seem to be contradictory to each other, but with practice you will find that these are actually doable. For example, while pulling the lower belly up you will find that you are tensing up the muscles in your belly and yet despite taking the effort to pull the lower belly up you need to learn to relax the stomach muscles.
Check out the Suggested Reading for Yoga post for a list of books that might help you go further with this pose.