MOUNTAIN POSE – TADASANA
Tadasana is a basic position that represents the foundation of the whole practice.
Tadasana is a posture to all effects, an “ideal” attitude that we should preserve in all and every asana, but also in our ordinary life, when we are moving or staying still, sit or standing. This would help the health of our spine and joints.
In Tadasana feet are parallel, either hips width apart or slightly rotated inwards, with big toes together; your pelvis is neutral, but I suggest a slight retroversion for those who have a sharp lumbar curve or suffer from hyper lordosis, so that the coccyx and lumbar spines are perpendicular to the ground. This posture allows the activation of lower abdominals and of the whole core, like a belt protecting our spine and internal organs.
Do not let your ribs fluctuate, but make them converge towards your breastbone gently, like to hug abdominals without creating excessive pressure, and expanding to let abundant air come in as you inhale. Keep your chest open and shoulders reaching their maximum width.
Try to lengthen you neckbones high, with the crown of your head pointing to the sky. To feel the maximum elongation, direct your chin going slightly towards the space between your collarbones and imagine somebody holding our nape and pulling it high, vertically. You can also ask your teacher or to an expert to make you feel this sensation.
Soften your throat, tongue, eyes. Let any tensions flow away from your body and face.
Hang your arms by your sides and, to start Sun Salutation, join the palms of your hands in front of your heart, then extend your arms to the sky. Some teachers invite students to arch back and open their chest considerably, even challenging their balance, but I would rather discourage beginners from doing this, as it might cause strain on the law back.
BENEFITS AND SYMBOLIC MEANING
On a symbolic level, Tadasana conceives the same sensations of stillness, groundedness, calm and relaxed power that we perceive while looking at mountains, which are solid, well rooted and nobody can move them from their place.
You can close your eyes in Tadasana and meditate on those aspects: imagine being powerful and rooted like a mountain. On the physical level, this meditation will help you feel stronger, more vigorous and stable. It will help feel a sense of protection and lay solid basis for balancing poses.
On the mental, emotional and spiritual level, Tadasana can help our perseverance and determination towards reaching a goal. Bringing the qualities of the mountain in ourselves is in fact more than a metaphor, but a real support for the tenaciousness we can deploy when we really desire something achievable, which can help removing distractions in our path to our accomplishments.
During the Yoga journey I have travelled so far, one thing I have understood is that everything, every detail of the Yoga practice is meaningful. Mountain pose, apparently a simple standing, has gained to me importance that goes further than the physical level, as it can foster our self-confidence and resilience.