Definition - What does Tadasana mean?
Tadasana is the Sanskrit name for a fundamental yoga asana, otherwise known as Mountain Pose. It is considered to be the blueprint that forms the basis of all other standing postures. Tadasana is the starting and finishing position of all Sun Salutation sequences, in addition to its use as a resting pose between other more strenuous postures. The term is derived from two Sanskrit roots; tada, meaning "mountain" and asana meaning "seat" or "posture."
Despite looking no different from simply standing, tadasana is an active pose, in which the practitioner engages in conscious awareness of muscle activation and posture.
To practice tadasana:
- Stand with feet hip-width distance apart with toes pointing forward. A more traditional alternative is to have the feet together with big toes touching and heels apart. In either version, it is important to distribute the body’s weight evenly across both feet, in order to connect with a sense of being centered.
- The knees should not be locked, and there should be a slight engagement in the thighs and navel center.
- The arms hang alongside the body, with palms facing forward to allow openness across the chest.
- The chin should be parallel to the floor, creating a neutral curve in the cervical spine. As a result, the ears, shoulders, hips and ankles should all be in one line.
The English name for tadasana is mountain pose; however, in Bikram yoga it may be known also as tree pose.
Yogapedia explains Tadasana
Tadasana is both physically and mentally grounding and can be used as a means of promoting stability in body and mind. In helping the practitioner to form a connection with the earth, tadasana is believed to stimulate the root chakra, symbolic of a sense of safety, security and rootedness. It is the posture that invokes samasthiti, a term meaning "equal or steady stance," and which is sometimes used interchangeably with tadasana.
Traditionally, the drishti (gazing point) for tadasana is at the tip of the nose, otherwise known as nasagra drishti. Whilst this can help to develop concentration, some schools of yoga favor a gazing point straight ahead in order to maintain balance, or even suggest closing the eyes as a means of drawing the awareness inward.
A more advanced version of tadasana involves engaging all three bandhas (energetic locks); mula bandha (root lock), uddiyana bandha (abdominal lock) and jalandhara bandha (throat or chin lock).
Tadasana helps to cultivate stillness, strength and a sense of empowerment, symbolic of its namesake. Traditionally, it is practiced between all other standing poses, as a means of allowing the mind and body to integrate the benefits of the previous asana whilst preparing for the next one.
In addition to cultivating stillness and stability, tadasana has several physical benefits such as:
Reducing back pain
Strengthening the legs and abdomen
Reducing the effects of flat feet
Those suffering from low blood pressure or headaches should practice tadasana with care, and pregnant women should widen their stance as much as possible in order to help maintain stability.
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