Tadasana or Samasthiti (Mountain Pose)
Tadasana, Mountain Pose
ताडासन / Tāḍāsana
समस्थितिः / Samasthitiḥ
Tadasana(tah-DAHS-uh-nuh) may seem like just a fancy name for standing still,but did you know that there is an art to standing still? An unbalanced posture creates unnecessary stress and tension on certain parts of the body, which after an extended period of time results in aches and pains, and possibly even bone compression. Most of us can only afford to dedicate an hour towards our daily yoga practice so we may practice to correct physical misalignments, yet spent the rest of the day standing incorrectly.
In our yoga practice, we apply the alignment and muscle activation of Tadasana to many poses. Therefore when the mechanics of this pose are fully understood, it is easier to gain and maintain the alignment for most of the other poses, especially standing poses and inversions.
Tadasana is the map or the blue print to all the other asanas. Practicing Tadasana with proper alignment will guide the practitioner in developing a clear picture of all asanas. Tadasana should always be taught to beginners and also as a reminder to matured practitioners of the basic alignments. Tadasana should never be seen as a simple pose or omitted. The more you attend to Tadasana you will begin to understand the defects in your own body postures. Tadasana is the spine of all the asanas.
Our body and mind is constantly affected by our environment. Our body is physically affected by the way we sit, stand and recline. When we keep the weight of our body on one foot the hip tilts to one side and the spine curves to one side, dropping one shoulder. This misalignment causes a discomfort in the body and that affects the mind. When the mind is affected, the ability to think clearly is impossible. A steady and comfortable body sustaining the natural curves of the spine has the ability to maintain the serenity of the mind.
Therefore the energy flow of the physical body and the subtle body(mind) depends on the space we sustain and create on the physical body. For instance people who are depressed have a rounded back with chest drooping and shoulders rolling forwards. This is a clear indication that the energy in the body is not moving upwards towards the brain but rather is closing the heart area and compressing the diaphragm.
When the heart has no space the flow and function of the heart to circulate blood is restricted. When the chest collapses the respiratory system cannot function energetically, causing compression in the lungs and in the diaphragm. When the energy flows in our body are affected, our mind will be dull and lazy. Stability of the body and mind is essential. Therefore Tadasana stands for its name like a mountain grounded and rising up above all. A yogi’s mind and body should be steady and stable at all times rising above all the challenges in our lives.
Tadasana is applied throughout the day, whether we are aware of it or not. But people with headaches, low blood pressure, insomnia or dizziness are advised against practicing the pose for long periods of time.Women who are menstruating and pregnant are advised to practice Tadasana with their backs against a wall.
Going into the Pose
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).