How to Do Mountain Pose (Tadasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Mountain Pose - Tadasana
Ben Goldstein

Targets: Posture and alignment

Level: Beginner

Mountain Pose (tadasana) is a foundational yoga pose for all standing poses and inversions. You will be using this pose often to prepare for other poses, but it also can be done by itself to help you improve your posture.

Benefits

Mountain Pose improves your posture and body awareness, strengthens your legs, establishes good alignment. Tadasana may not look like much, but keeping your body active and aligned is hard work. You're not just standing in any old way. You have to be aware of each part of your body and the role that it plays in stacking your bones and keeping your spine long. You can even break a sweat if you engage your leg muscles as strongly as possible. The basic alignment for mountain pose carries through to many of the other standing postures (Warrior I, for example) and inverted poses (Handstand) you're going to do.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Come to a stand with your big toes touching.

  1. Lift up all of your toes and fan them out, then drop them back down to create a wide, solid base. You can separate your heels slightly if your ankles are knocking together uncomfortably.
  2. Let your feet and calves root down into the floor.
  3. Engage your quadriceps (the muscles on the front of your thighs) and draw them upward, causing your kneecaps to rise.
  4. Rotate both thighs inward, creating a widening of the sit bones.
  5. Maintain the natural curves of your spine.
  6. Tone your belly, drawing it in slightly.
  7. Widen your collarbones and check that your shoulders are stacked over your pelvis.
  8. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears and then roll them back to release your shoulder blades down your back. 
  9. Let your arms hang naturally with the elbows slightly bent and the palms facing forward.
  10. Your neck is long, your chin is neither tucked down nor lifted up, and the crown of your head rises toward the ceiling.
  11. Once you have checked all your alignment points, take five to 10 breaths while you hold yourself in this position.

    Common Mistakes

    Rushing Through Tadasana

    Since this pose looks so simple, there is a temptation to disregard its importance or rush through it. Instead, make sure you get it a least one really attentive Tadasana at the beginning of each practice. It's a great way to check in with your body and set yourself up to be mindful of your form throughout all your poses.

    Thigh Rotation

    If you are a beginner you can build the right body awareness in tadasana and ensure you are rotating your thighs inward by placing a block between your thighs. The block should be turned so that the short end faces the front. Squeeze the block with your legs and roll it slightly backward to feel the engagement and rotation of the thighs. Take several breaths this way. Then remove the block but replicate the action of your thighs as if the block was still there. You don't have to use the block every time but it helps your body remember how to rotate the thighs inward.

    Alignment

    You can check your alignment by doing mountain pose with your back against a wall. Ensure that your heels, sacrum, and shoulder blades touch the wall. Think how all of your joints are stacked on each other from ankles to shoulders.

    Modifications and Variations

    Need a Modification?

    If you have difficulty standing with your feet together or feel unstable doing so, widen your stance a bit until you feel stable.

    If you have knee problems, be sure you are not locking your knees but instead keep your needs soft or slightly bent.

    Up for a Challenge?

    You can give yourself a balance challenge by doing mountain pose with your eyes closed.

    Safety and Precautions

    Mountain is a generally safe pose unless you are feeling dizzy or lightheaded. If you are pregnant, you may need a wider stance to feel stable.

    Try It Out

    Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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