Written by Parama K. Williams | 07 November 2020
This is the most complete guide to Mountain Pose (Tadasana) online.
If you want to:
Then you’ll love the detailed insights in today’s guide.
Let’s get started!
Also known as Tadasana (derived from the Sanskrit words; Tada – mountain, and Asana – seat or posture); Mountain Pose is widely revered for its grounding properties: rooting your feet firmly to the earth and standing in a tall, straight posture.
Tadasana is considered the best way to align and correct your posture, which can be linked to increasing your height and reducing back pain, as it helps you to stand straight by engaging and strengthening the muscles that may be weakened due to years of poor postural habits such as slouching or favouring one leg whilst standing.
Mountain Pose is a foundational yoga pose that helps you to improve your posture by aligning your spine properly and spreading your weight evenly on both sides of your body.
For the past twenty years since I started teaching yoga, I love to guide beginners in Mountain Pose because it lends itself to creative visualization. In class, I tell to my students, “Imagine you are a mountain, standing tall and firm, your feet rooted deeply into the earth and the crown of your head rising up toward the Heavens. You are strong, steady, and focused…”
Let’s now take a look at how to master this simple yet effective pose, along with some variations!
Disclaimer: Whilst Tadasana is suitable for most people, if you are suffering from lower back injury, are pregnant, or not used to physical activity; always consult your doctor before making a change in your lifestyle.
1. Standing up straight and tall, place the base of your big toes together, ensuring that your feet are parallel and facing forward. Now close your eyes. Try to evenly distribute your body weight across the four corners of each foot. Establish an even base with your feet, maintaining a steady and calm breath.
2. Bring your attention to your ankles as you stand, focusing on keeping your body weight distributed evenly from both front to back and side to side. Become aware of how your legs feel in the pose, noticing what muscles are engaged. Lift your kneecaps up and activate your thigh muscles. Notice how this feels. Gaining a sense of awareness of your body is the key to mindfulness.
3. Now open your eyes and let your gaze rest on an object in front of you that is not moving. Softly gaze at that point as you maintain your steadiness in the pose. Focus on keeping your chest lifted by rolling your shoulders down and back, lengthening across your collarbones. Take deep, steady breaths. Fill your entire chest cavity on the inhale, allowing your belly to expand. Exhale slowly and completely.
4. Move your attention to your hips and lower back. Tilt your pelvis slightly forward. Rotate your upper thighs inward. Notice how this feels in your tailbone. Let your lower back lengthen toward the floor by tucking your tailbone slightly between your legs as you engage your abdominal and thigh muscles.
5. Imagine two ropes pulling your hip bones upwards to elongate your spine. Visualise a third rope gently tugging your spine up through the crown of your head. Think superhero stance! This confident posture lengthens your vertebrae and encourages your body to engage its core.
6. Release your shoulder blades down your back and let your arms relax beside your torso. Focus on the sensations in your body as you hold this pose, still engaging your abdominal and thigh muscles and breathing deeply.
7. Relax your shoulders whilst widening your collarbones. Create a sensation of opening in your chest by lifting your sternum upward.
8. Keep the base of your chin parallel to the ground. This will help ensure an optimal posture with the top of your head in line with your “centre of gravity” located at the base of your abdomen.
9. Relax your jaw and let your eyes soften. Keep breathing steadily and allow tension in your body to release with each exhale.
Hold Mountain Pose for 5 slow, deep breaths, then relax for 40-60 seconds.
You can repeat Tadasana as many times as you like, as it is low intensity and makes a brilliant introductory pose as part of a warm-up, cool down, or daily mindfulness practice.
1. Take the length of your inhale to raise your arms in a wide arc up to either side of your head. Bring your palms together.
Press your shoulders down away from your ears. As I often say during class, “Don’t wear your shoulders as earrings!”
2. Take the length of your exhale to release your arms down in a wide arc back to the sides of your body.
3. Repeat this sequence as many times as you’d like, keeping your gaze fixed on a steady point in front of you.
Breathe fully and deeply. Inhale as you raise your arms up.
Exhale as you bring your arms back down beside you.
1. Ease into a Standing Forward Bend. Press your chin towards your chest as you gently roll vertebra by vertebra forward, keeping your arms relaxed beside you.
Bend your knees enough so your hands can come to the ground, or use a cushion or yoga block to rest your hands on.
Relax your head down and take 5 slow, full breaths.
2. From Standing Forward Bend, release your knees to the ground, slowly coming onto all fours (Table Top Pose).
Take 5 slow breaths in Table Top Pose.
3. From Table Top Pose, move into Child’s Pose. Press your hips back to your heels.
If your forehead can reach the mat, let your forehead rest directly onto the mat keeping your arms stretched out on the ground in front of you.
If your head can’t reach the mat, simply stack your fists and rest your forehead on top of your stacked fists.
Take 10 slow breaths in Child’s Pose.
1. From Child’s Pose, gently push up and forwards onto all fours (Table Top Pose).
Bring your shoulders directly above your wrists, spreading your hands and fingers out and planting them down. Hips should come above your knees and your lower legs parallel to each other. Take 5 slow breaths in Table Top Pose.
2. From Table Top Pose, push your hips up and back and straighten your arms and legs into Downward Facing Dog Pose (forming an inverted letter ‘V’).
Take your arms shoulder-width apart, your legs hip-width apart and your belly pressing towards your thighs.
Let your head relax between your arms. Press your heels down and back towards the ground as much as they’re willing.
If the backs of your legs feel tight, you can bring a slight bend into your knees and gently walk your heels up and down.
Take 5 slow breaths in Downward Facing Dog Pose.
3. From Downward Facing Dog Pose, with a bend in your legs, walk your feet slowly towards your hands so you come into a Standing Forward Bend Pose.
Allow your legs to bend as much as they need to so your hands can rest on the ground.
If your hands cannot reach the ground, you can put a support like a cushion underneath your hands, or you can grasp opposite elbows in opposite hands and hang in what’s known as Ragdoll Pose.
Let your top half fully hang down and relax. If you feel dizzy, please gently ease yourself down to the ground and rest for now.
Take 5 slow breaths in Standing Forward Bend or Ragdoll Pose.
4. From your variation of Standing Forward Bend Pose, keep the bend in your legs and very slowly roll up vertebra by vertebra to a standing position, keeping your chin tucked into your chest as you roll-up.
Your head will lift up last.
5. Come into a tall, straight standing position. Rediscover your Mountain Pose.
Make the subtle adjustments we practised earlier to optimize your posture.
Take 5 slow breaths in Mountain Pose.
Mountain Pose is the base of all standing postures in yoga.
It allows you to ground yourself and find a sense of strength and balance before attempting to carry out more challenging postures.
Even if your movement is limited, Mountain Pose is an accessible pose, even for people recovering from injury.
The pose will allow you to stretch and strengthen your body, whilst ridding your mind of stress and anxiety.
Mountain Pose is contraindicated if you have low blood pressure, suffer from insomnia or have a headache.
You may still be able to practise the posture but do not overdo it and if you become dizzy, stop straight away and rest.
As with all postures, listen to your body when you practise and if anything feels uncomfortable, then stop immediately or ask your instructor to help you modify the pose.
When properly carried out, Mountain Pose engages all the muscles in your body.
It will also help you to correct poor posture by aligning your vertebrae (the bones in your spinal column) correctly.
Mountain pose teaches you balance and helps you to learn mindfulness in body and breath.
Your back muscles also benefit from being stretched and strengthened in Mountain Pose.
With so many of us slouching in day to day life, Tadasana gives you the opportunity to straighten and lengthen your body and correct poor modern-day posture habits, such as slouching or bending your head excessively forward whilst using your phone.
Another great benefit of practising this pose is being firmly rooted in one place with your weight evenly distributed between your two feet.
Standing tall, firm and balanced like a mountain, this alone is of great value and can correct many bad posture habits!
When’s the last time you noticed yourself standing tall and proud?
Whether you’re in your home, on the train, or waiting in a queue.
You can do Mountain Pose wherever and whenever you like because it is very easy to do and excellent for your mind and body.
Mountain Pose, along with all yoga practice, is a great pose to return to when you need to find your balance and stability.
This pose will help you “check-in” with yourself and regulate your state of mind and body.
Now I’d love to turn it over to you:
What do you like the most about Mountain Pose?
When are you going to try it?
Perhaps you’d like to share your experience with Tadasana?
Let me know by leaving a comment below and remember to follow us on Instagram for more great content.
Parama K. Williams
Parama K. Williams is a published author with a Master of Arts in Education and twenty years of international experience as a US-Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Yoga Teacher. Originally from the US, she moved permanently to Central America, where she built an off-grid homestead in a rural area and created the life of her dreams. Parama currently offers yoga classes, English classes, therapeutic massage, and wellness retreats in both Mexico and Belize. She writes about her unique experiences, particularly focusing on themes related to international travel, education, sustainable tourism, health (yoga, meditation, and massage therapy), and spirituality. Learn more about Parama K. Williams