Sanskrit Saturday: Tadasana

Tadasana is Mountain Pose, the most fundamental pose in yoga. It looks like you’re just standing in place, but it actually takes balance, strength, and concentration. Here is the long version on the series of cues I give my beginners about mountain:

In our mountain pose, we ground through all four corners of our feet: the ball of the big toe, the ball of the little toe, and both sides of the heel. We strive to correct any natural misalignments, sending the weight evenly through the foot, feeling the energy from the ground, our feet parallel to one another and directly under the hip bones. We stack our knees over ankles, hips over knees, shoulders over hips, and ears over shoulders. We keep our shoulder blades back and down along the spine, releasing any tension in the neck and shoulders. Our palms face out, and our hands are down by our sides. We try to find that deep, cleansing breath, and carry this posture and this breath with us throughout practice today.

I’ve always heard teachers saying that we carry mountain in every pose we do, but I’m really just starting to understand that. I try to tell my beginners that balancing poses like tree really test that four-corners business. If your weight isn’t distributed evenly, you’re going to have one shaky tree!

I’ve also heard teachers describe the inner and outer spiral of the thigh, but that imagery doesn’t really work for me, so I don’t use it. I’d rather think about engaging through the leg, starting with the feet and moving up. The toughest part of this asana for me is the hands. It doesn’t seem natural to me to have my palms facing that way. But I’m working on it.



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