Tadasana, from the outside, seems like the simplest of all yoga postures. After all, you’re standing upright – right? What could be easier?
Sometimes called “Mountain Pose,” Tadasana is uncomplicated in form, but is in fact a complex posture, involving many principles of yoga alignment. Once learned, those principles can be applied to many other yoga postures. For this reason, Tadasana is sometimes called a “template pose.”
The primary alignment goal in Tadasana is balance: the balance of the body upon the earth and against itself; a balance between energy rooting down and expanding upward; and the balance of effort and surrender while in the posture.
Begin by balancing the weight of the body firmly and evenly on the soles of the feet. This is not as simple as it seems! Many people stand at rest with their body weight shifted off center. Closing your eyes can be helpful here; without eyesight to aid the sense of balance, you’re forced to rely on the physical feelings in the body. This can dramatically alter the sense of connectedness through the feet.
Once the feet are secure, many other concepts of alignment are employed, such as lifting up through the inner arches of the feet; balancing the rotation of the thighs; spreading the pelvis while allowing the tailbone to descend; drawing the lower ribs in; and spreading the collar bones wide…. just for starters! As I say quite often, “There is a lot going on in this pose!”
Alignment cues, when learned in an uncomplicated posture like Tadasana, are then more easily translatable when the going gets twisty. For example, in Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose), we are instructed to secure the feet, balance the thighs, and spread the collarbones…and so on. These become familiar actions, perfected in Tadasana and repeated throughout one’s practice.
The next time you find yourself standing in Tadasana for what might seem an interminably long time, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relish the opportunity to find balance, to take root, making a deep connection to the earth, and to expand your energy upward, connecting with the universe!