(Tadasana): Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Level – Intermediate

Mountain Pose

(Tadasana)

Mountain Pose Prep & Practice

1

Breath is steady, legs, abdominals and arms energized and engaged, soften tops of shoulders away from ears. Find a comfortable standing position, and with the eyes closed, take a few deep breaths to come into your body with full awareness.

2

Stand at the top of mat, feet hip width apart, inside edges parallel. Lift and spread toes. Maintaining space between toes, ground feet, weight evenly distributed through all four corners of both feet. Thighs in a neutral position, the center seam of thighs point directly forward.

3

Engage thigh muscles, knee caps lifting slightly, inner thighs draw toward each other. Hips are level and point forward. Low abs firm in and up, knitting ribs, finding lengthen in front, sides and back of torso.

4

Arms gently rotate externally, palms face forward. Keeping the arms straight, pull your shoulder blades toward each other and down. Arms and hands energized, fingers spread. Shoulders stacked over hips.

5

Shoulders stacked over hips, inhale arms slightly forward and up over head. With your arms straight overhead, spread fingers, energizing hands and arms.

Variations/Modifications

  • Squeeze block between thighs
  • Hands in prayer position (Anjali Mudra)
  • Use wall or chair for balance (balance issues)
  • Practice Tadasana in spine while seated (difficulty standing)

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Returns body to anatomical neutral
  • Strengthens small muscles in feet and ankles
  • Improves clarity and mental focus
  • Warms up thighs and tones low abs
  • Calming and grounding

Contraindications

  • Difficulty Standing (see modifications)
  • Balance Issues (see modifications)
  • Toe, Foot or Ankle Injuries

A Few Notes

Mountain pose is the foundation of all standing poses and is used for a moment of awareness in between postures. To practice mountain pose, stand with your feet comfortably apart. Keep your spine in a neutral position and your legs engaged. Keep your arms straight at your sides or hold your hands in prayer position, or the Anjali mudra. If this pose is too challenging for you, try the modifications listed above.

If this pose is too difficult for you, then you can try different variations and modifications to make it easier. If you cannot stand, then you can use a chair for this pose. If you use a chair, then keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and thigh muscles engaged. Sit up straight by using your core and back muscles to keep the spine in a neutral position. Pull your shoulder blades toward each other and keep your arms straight at your sides. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Let the top of your shoulders relax into the pose. Find your center and, if you’re comfortable with it, move into a quiet meditation.

Want more yoga pose tutorials? See more in my Yoga Pose Directory.

Variations/Modifications

  • Prop up sits bones if they don’t come to the floor
  • Use blanket to support front thigh (from hip to knee)
  • Use a block under the forehead
  • Use a bolster to support the torso and head
  • Reclined Pigeon (Ankle to Knee Pose)

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Relieves stagnation from hip joints
  • Quiets the mind and brings focus inward
  • Stretches piriformis, inner thigh and hip
  • Stimulates abdominal organs

Contraindications

  • Knee or Hip Injuries or Hip Replacements
  • Hamstring Injury
  • Sacroiliac Injury
  • Tight Hips (see modifications)

Thoughtful Sequencing

Child’s Pose (Balasana), Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), One Legged Downward Facing Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana), Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana) staying here for 3-5 breaths. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) to Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana). Repeat other side, rest in Child’s Pose (Balasana).

You might also like: 5 Tips For Building Creative (And Safe) Yoga Sequences

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Level – Intermediate

Pigeon Pose Prep & Practice

  1. Beginning on hands and knees or Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). On an exhalation, Bring the right knee forward and right, toward the right edge of your mat behind the right wrist, angling right shin so that the right foot rest in front of the left knee.
  2. Right leg rotates externally from hip, outside of right shin and foot rest on mat. Foot relaxes in neutral or flexes (whichever feels better on the knee). Mindfully lengthen and extend the left leg toward back of mat so that front of thigh, knee and shin rest onto the mat (neutral or slight internal rotation).
  3. Torso is upright, gaze forward. On an inhalation, lengthen through the front, back and side bodies, exhale rooting down through front leg and right sits bones, outside of right buttock comes to rest on the mat. Gaze back at left leg to see if leg and foot are extending directly from the hip and not swiveled or sickled to the left. Hips yearn toward square.
  4. Inhale and lengthen torso finding even length on both sides, as you exhale release the upper body toward the floor, bending the arms allowing elbows to be wide and hands to rest one on top of the other. Forehead comes to rest on the mat or on the back of the hands.
  5. Breathe into the back body, releasing through the hips and pelvis. Spend some time here, using the breath to create space.
  6. To come out of the pose, lengthen the arms, spread the fingers and press down through the knuckles. On an inhalation press down through hands to lift the torso and mindfully come back to hands and knees or downward dog to prepare for the other side.

Variations/Modifications

  • Prop up sits bones if they don’t come to the floor
  • Use blanket to support front thigh (from hip to knee)
  • Use a block under the forehead
  • Use a bolster to support the torso and head
  • Reclined Pigeon (Ankle to Knee Pose)

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Relieves stagnation from hip joints
  • Quiets the mind and brings focus inward
  • Stretches piriformis, inner thigh and hip
  • Stimulates abdominal organs

Contraindications

  • Knee or Hip Injuries or Hip Replacements
  • Hamstring Injury
  • Sacroiliac Injury
  • Tight Hips (see modifications)

Thoughtful Sequencing

Child’s Pose (Balasana), Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), One Legged Downward Facing Dog (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana), Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana) staying here for 3-5 breaths. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) to Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana). Repeat other side, rest in Child’s Pose (Balasana).

You might also like: 5 Tips For Building Creative (And Safe) Yoga Sequences

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