Want to learn more about Tadasana, aka Mountain Pose? In this post, I share the benefits of Tadasana, a complete pose breakdown, contraindications, myths, modifications and more.
Tadasana, aka Mountain Pose, is so much more than “stand at the top of your mat”. Like so many things in yoga, the refinements you can make to this poses are seemingly endless. When done with intention, Mountain Pose helps you find the strength and stability of a mountain inside yourself and helps you to embody those qualities.
Admittedly, Tadasana can be a simple pose; often the simplest things are the hardest to master.
I will never forget one class I taught at a studio where Tadasana had clearly never been taught beyond “relax at the top of your mat and wait for more instructions”. Instead of the class I had originally planned, I taught them Tadasana in all its glory. I hope it’s a lesson that has stayed with them ever since.
Tadasana is also referred to as Samasthiti. This is the common name for this pose in the Ashtanga Yoga lineage. While Tadasana can be performed with your feet apart, or together, Samasthiti is traditionally done with feet together.
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Tadasana Quick Facts
|Sanskrit||Tadasana (also known as Samasthiti)|
|Meaning||Tada means mountain.|
Tadasana means Mountain Pose.
Sama means same or equal.
Sthiti means standing.
Samasthiti means Same or Equal Standing Pose, although it is most commonly referred to in English as Mountain Pose.
Note: I only include the scientifically supported benefits of Tadasana here. Plenty of claims about other supposed benefits (from the plausible to the magical to the ridiculous) have been made. To me, pseudo-scientific claims only serve to harm the yoga community, so I choose not to give them airtime here.
The main physical benefits of Tadasana include:
- Strengthens legs.
- Strengthens biceps and triceps.
- Helps create stability in the shoulder joints.
- Tones abdomen and hips.
- Strengthens the posterior chain (back muscles, butt, hamstrings).
- Helps improve balance.
- Helps correct posture.
- Can help relieve sciatica discomfort.
If you want more, see our complete guide to the benefits of yoga, which includes a history of yoga plus the origins of our modern yoga practice and much more.
Precautions & Contraindications
Remember that while yoga is for everyone, not all poses are for all people!
- This pose can be challenging if you have vertigo. Practice Tadasana with your feet as wide apart as you need to find balance. See Modifications below.
- If you easily hyperextend your knees, extra care should be made to engage your hamstrings so that you protect your knees. See Modifications below.
- If you have low blood pressure, this pose can make you light headed.
- If you have a headache or migraine, Tadasana might make it worse.
- If you are pregnant, you may want to keep your feet hip distance apart, or wider.
Tadasana Yoga Pose Breakdown
How to do Tadasana / Mountain Pose
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart (see note below).
- Make your feet parallel to each other (this is with your toes pointing straight ahead, although who has straight toes?).
- Spread your toes and push down evenly through the four corners of your feet.
- Stand with your head, hips, and heels stacked over each other.
- Straighten your legs and stand up tall.
- Pull up through the muscles above your knees so that your quads engage.
- Imagine you are pulling your heels up to your buttocks, so that your hamstrings isometrically engage. If that doesn’t help your hamstrings engage, you can try pulling back with your feet (without letting them move).
- Stretch your arms straight down at your sides. Straighten your arms to engage your triceps. If you can hyperextend your arms, be careful to not hyperextend here.
- Engage your biceps to support your arms. You can imagine bending your elbow while working to keep your arm straight and this can isometrically engage your biceps.
- Tadasana can be done with your palms facing forward, or facing your side. I tend to teach it with your palms facing your sides. You can also spread your fingers or keep your fingers together. I tend to teach it with your fingers together.
- Move your shoulders back a little to open your chest. Draw your shoulders down your back.
- Stretch up tall through your spine, lengthen your neck, but keep your gaze forward and your chin parallel to the ground.
- Stretch your tailbone down. Tone your belly, tone your butt, engage your torso to stand up tall.
- This is Tadasana, or Mountain Pose. Imagine you have the strength and stability of a mountain and work to embody that here in the pose.
Note: As your yoga practice advances you can begin to practice Tadasana with your feet together. Generally I start my practice each day with my feet apart, and as my legs warm up I then bring my feet together. If your hamstrings are tight/short you will find it easier to move into other poses from Tadasana if your feet are separated.
Modifications & Variations
If your legs turn out:
- Place a yoga block between your thighs to help activate your adductor muscles (inner thighs).
If you have vertigo or difficulty balancing:
- If you have vertigo, or if it’s challenging to be still in this pose for other reasons, practice the pose with your feet as wide as you need to to find balance.
- You can also use a wall for support. Stand with your back touching the wall and engage your muscles as per the step-by-step instructions above.
If you have a dowager’s hump (aka hunch back):
- Using a wall for support, stand with your back to the wall, with the rounded part of your spine touching the wall.
- Move your rounded spine energetically away from the wall — but keep it physically touching the wall.
- Stretch up long through your spine.
- If you practice this regularly, over time you can build more strength in the supporting muscles of your back (particularly your erector spinae) to help lessen, or completely reverse, the hump.
You can also place a yoga block between the wall and your middle of the back. This will help you slowly change the posture of your upper body.
If you hyperextend your knees:
- If you easily hyperextend your knees, extra care should be made to engage your hamstrings so that you protect your knees.
- To engage your hamstrings, imagine that you are pulling your heels up towards your buttocks and you should feel the muscles on the back of your legs come alive.
- Over-engaging your quadriceps (thigh muscles) can pull you into hyperextension. By focusing on your hamstrings (the back of your upper legs) you can prevent this tendency.
If you have sensitive feet:
- You can place a yoga blanket on your mat and stand on the blanket for a softer surface.
Poses Related to Tadasana
- Vajrasana / Thunderbolt Pose
- Dandasana / Staff Pose
- Paschimottanasana / Seated Forward Fold Pose
- Vrksasana / Tree Pose
- Balasana / Child’s Pose
- Savasana / Corpse Pose
- Indudalasana / Crescent Pose
- Supta Tadasana / Supine Mountain Pose
Poses to Take Your Practice Further
- Vrksasana / Tree Pose
- Garudasana / Eagle Pose
- Urdhva Namaskarasana / Upward Prayer Pose
- Utkatasana / Fierce Pose or Chair Pose
Related Posts & Videos
- Post: Vajrasana Pose Benefits & Breakdown
- Post: Trikonasana Benefits & Breakdown
- Post: Downward Dog Benefits & Breakdown
- Video: Tadasana Pose Breakdown
Gear & Resources for this Pose
- BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga
- Darren Rhodes Yoga Resource Practice Manual
- Stephen’s Favourite Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat
- Cork Yoga Blocks
- Machine Washable Vegan Yoga Blankets
Save 10% – Yoloha yoga gear, including cork yoga mats and blocks, organic cotton yoga straps, bolsters and more, is 10% off when you use our code adventure10 at checkout!
A Final Note About Mountain Pose
I think that because we do Mountain Pose so often in yoga, teachers forget to teach it, and just assume you learned it somewhere else. This does students — you — a disservice.
Tadasana is the starting point for every other pose. If we don’t focus on the work needed to build our mountain from the ground up, in some ways this is saying that it doesn’t matter what you do in any pose.
And it does matter. Yoga is whatever you dedicate yourself to. In the physical yoga practice we dedicate our practice to the poses, our breath, and to doing our best. And this all starts in Tadasana.
I hope you will use this post to expand your knowledge of Mountain pose because it is from this pose that every other pose arises, and what you practice in this pose affects every other pose.
Namaste OMies, Stephen
I hope this post has been helpful in expanding your possibilities with Mountain Pose. It’s my goal to inspire you to explore your yoga practice more deeply while enabling you to cultivate the strength and clarity needed to live your life’s adventure to the fullest.