We generally start a series of standing poses with the standing pose called Tadasana. Tada means mountain, and Asana means a pose or posture. It literally means “stand steady and erect like a mountain”. Tadasana is the very basic but important standing pose in yoga practice.
We learn few things from Tadasana, the Asana:
1. The Basic alignment of the body
a. How to stand straight and upright
b. How to focus and concentrate
c. How to center line the body
d. How to balance
2. And Understand 4 sides of the body
Guruji BKS Iyengar said "Once we can master 'Tadasana' then all the other poses come."
So we can consider this pose the opening pose for our body to start its inward journey to the other poses or asanas.
How to do Tadasana?
There are a few approaches to do Tadasana correctly according to the Iyengar Yoga tradition. We can also practice with props to support the body to get proper Tadasana.
Here are some pointers from the books "Yoga in Action: Preliminary Course Book", "Light on Yoga", and "Yoga: A Gem for Women":
From "Yoga in Action: Preliminary Course Book":
Feet together, toes, ankles and heels touching.
See that the body weight is spread evenly over the feet.
Tighten the kneecaps and lift the knees up
Shin bones in line with the thigh bones
Front of the thighs pressed back
Have the spine erect, chest lifted
Arms straight down by the sides, in line with the hips.
Roll the shoulder bones back and tuck the shoulder-blades in
Neck straight, head straight
Look straight ahead.
From "Yoga: A Gem for Women":
Stand erect with the feet together and the big toes and the heels touching. See that the weight of the body is neither on the heels nor on the toes but in the centre of the arches.
Do not tighten the toes, but stretch them from the bottom and keep them relaxed.
Keep the ankles in line with each other.
Tighten the knees, pull the kneecaps upwards and tighten the quadriceps. Keep the shin bones in line with the thigh bones. Breathe normally.
Compress the hips and tighten the buttocks.
Keep the spine erect, raise the sternum, expand the chest. Do not protrude the abdomen but lift it upwards.
Keep the neck erect and the head straight; do not tilt forwards or backwards. Look straight ahead.
Keep the arms by the side of the body, extending downwards and keeping the palms facing the thighs, in line with them. Do not lift the shoulders. Keep the fingers together.
Stand still for 20 to 30 seconds and breathe normally.
From: "Light on Yoga":
Stand erect with the feet together, the heels and the big toes touching each other. Rest the heads of metatarsals on the floor and stretch all the toes flat on the floor.
Tighten the knees and pull the kneecaps up, contract the hips and pull up the muscles at the back of the thighs.
Keep the stomach in, chest forward, spine stretched up, and the neck straight.
Do not bear the weight of the body either on the heels or the toes, but distribute it evenly on them both.
Ideally in Tadasana the arms are stretched out over the head, but for the sake of convenience, one can place by the side of the thighs.
Most people don’t generally stand "properly". We can see on the streets how people stand or walk. Some have a hunch back, sway back, hollow back, knee bent, flat feet, while some bear the weight on one leg only. Keeping these kinds of standing or walking postures all the time is one of the reasons people suffer from back pain, knee pain, or neck pain. To avoid these types of pains in the future, we need to check our body posture. Check how we stand and practice Tadasana properly. If you don’t know how to do the pose, or need further clarification of the above instructions, please check with your yoga teacher. Learning and properly practicing Tadasana will allow you to improve your posture, avoid future pain, and, at the same time, give you the right start on your inward yoga journey.