ASANAS - the postures of yoga

Asanas by first letter

TADASANA - Mountain pose

Another of those, `So what?` poses?  Yes, and as so often in yoga, and life, it is often the apparently simplest things that are the hardest to accomplish.

Tadasana is the name usually used to denote the standing upright position.  In a yoga sequence it is the point of departure and return  for most of the standing asanas.  In effect it can be compared to the lying position of Savasana.  Here the body is allowed to rest and centre in upright pose.

Some schools dictate that the feet should be touching, others that the feet should be a comfortable distance apart.  On balance I prefer to have the feet slightly apart so that the feet are just hip width apart.  In this position the femurs can sit in the hip socket and support  the body above.  Wherever the feet are placed however it is important to be aware that the feet are well anchored in the ground.  Spreading the toes, gripping gently with the front balls, side and heel of each foot, feel the transverse and long arches of the foot gently rising as you grip the ground.  Think of standing on the beach on the edge of the sea and `rooting your feet into the wet sand.

The legs should be straight but not locked at the knees.  They should be in a position of strength and ability to respond to challenges of balance.  The pelvis should feel horizontal, and like a wash basin holding water so that the water runs from neither front nor back.  The leaking point` is most likely to be at the front, so gently pull in the lower abdomen and the pelvic floor to create a sense of lifting into the torso.

Lengthening the back by straightening up, feel the abdomen lengthen without the chest rising.  This can be felt by breathing into the Solar Plexus rather than the upper chest.  Feel the ribcage broaden rather than rise, and the sense of expanding across the back. 

Allow the shoulders to rise and then roll back and down allowing the arms to hang loose by the sides of the thighs.  There should be no tension in the shoulders or arms – unless the `stiff version` of this pose is being done for  a specific purpose (see illustration).

The head should rise from the neck as though you have a hook in the crown of the head drawing you up to the sky.  This means you will feel a sense of stretchha dn length in the back of the neck.  Make the sure the chin does not tilt up.  The face should look straight ahead  and with the chin slightly pulled in as though with a greater force you would squeeze the Adams Apple in the throat.

Stand with focus and awareness.  It is a good simple balancing exercise to close your eyes and hold Tadasana for a minute or longer being aware of the subtle constant reflex reactions in the ankles and legs.

Derek Osborn                                                                03 2006

Tadasana - rigid form



Of all yoga poses this must be one of the best known.  It is a basic of almost every school of yoga.  The benefits of this pose are many.  As a standing pose the legs are strengthened and balance is improved.  All the muscles of the legs are involved but particularly in the hips and inner thighs.  The spine is moved laterally, and as long as Ujaii breathing is practised the abdominal organs and muscles are massaged and toned.


The feet should be placed about inside leg measurement apart.  Normally the foot to be reached for is turned out.  In all positions like this be aware of any discomfort in the knees and take measures to correct the pain by changing the angle of the feet.


It is important to avoid twisting the trunk in an attempt to reach towards the ground with the lower hand.  A good measure of how that can easily happen is to hold a broom handle across the back on the top of the shoulder blades.  The handle forces the upper reaching arm to remain in line with the trunk – giving a good stretch to the pectorals.  It also heightens awareness of the position of the arms in relation to each other.


In the Reverse Triangle the hand reaches down towards the opposite foot.  For most people turning the head to look towards the sky creates an extra challenge to balance

Traditional version

Simple form