Tadasana, or mountain pose, is the foundation of all the standing asanas. However, most do not give this pose it’s proper reverence and treat it like a transition to asanas that are “more fun.” There was once a class taught by Kofi Busia where he taught two poses in a two hour class: Tadasana and Dandasana (staff pose). We literally stood for one hour while he hammered us with instructions and did the same sitting in dadasana for an hour. The next day I could barely move.
Like the Himalayas, Tadasana should be firm and unwavering. The base of the “mountain” is your feet. In architecture, the arch is one of the strongest structures. Your feet have three of them. That is why such a small structure can bear so much weight. To begin the pose, place the feet together.
From here, press the big toe mounds down to tighten the quadriceps and press the top of the knee straight back. This will place the knee firmly into the socket. Here is what legs look like without engaging the toe mounds and quadriceps:
and with the knees engaged
Notice the gap closes between the thighs.
The next tendency I’ve noticed in my own practice is I tend to lean forward taking the weight into the front part of the foot. To illustrate, I’ve placed a belt over my shoulder to act as a plumb line.
You can see here my weight is forward as the strap is over the foot. To correct, I push back from my top thighs to bring the hip over the ankle:
Now you can see from the plumb line that my hip is on the same plane as the ankle.
The thighs “roll in.” Some may have a hard time with this term. To illustrate, I put a block between the thighs and “roll the thighs in” until the block goes out the back like a Pez coming out of a dispenser:
The next exercise is to address the back body. As we cannot see our back body with our eyes, we are largely unaware of what we are doing. By using a corner edge of a wall, can quickly tell where am over arching in the back and where I am not working enough:
The exercise here is to flatten as much of your spine on the corner as possible:
You can’t forget the arms in this pose. they are straight by extending the triceps muscle until the elbow recedes into the arm much like the knee recedes into the leg. The top arms roll out to open the chest and the back of the arms are even with the spine. Fingers are straight and thumb is slightly crimped: