The digital era has brought with it a world of infinite possibilities! Earlier, yoga was the privilege of the royalties having access to Yoga books and scriptures. They also had access to Yoga gurus who taught yogasanas in their ashrams. With the advent of the internet, yoga has become available to the common man. One can easily look up detailed Yoga lessons on the web.
Technology has brought people closer to each other as well as to the comfort of their homes. With people constantly glued to their smartphones and laptops, many suffer from various health issues arising from being a ‘desk-dweller’.
The most typical issue faced by many is neck and spine problems. Long hours of incorrect sitting posture in front of the screen may cause problems in the alignment of the spine or stiffness in surrounding muscles.1
To prevent such issues, one must do exercises designed to keep the spine supple and all its vertebrae aligned. One such exercise is the Tadasana, a simple Yoga posture that can be done without any equipment or even a Yoga mat! Tadasana helps align the spine into its natural curvatures and stabilize our entire body in a way that provides grounding and weightlessness.1
What is Tadasana?
‘Tadasana’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘tada’ meaning ‘palm’ or ‘mountain’ and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture’ or ‘seat’.1,2
The Tadasana symbolizes standing strong like a tree or a mountain. It is also called the mountain pose or palm tree posture. When one stands in tadasana, the vertebral column aligns correctly in its natural curves. This adds strength and stability to the spine and vertebra. It is a basic pose of Yoga and forms the foundation of many standing yoga postures. Tadasana is a part of other asanas like the Suryanamanskar.1,2
How to do it?
To get the maximum health benefit from any Yoga asana, it is essential that it should be done in a proper manner. It is not necessary to do Tadasana on an empty stomach. You may practice it any time during the day. If you do any other asanas before or after it, then it is recommended to have your meals at least 4-6 hours earlier. Also, ensure that your bowels are clean.1 Here are the steps to do Tadasana:
- Stand straight, keeping your feet two inches away from each other.
- Breathe in and raise your arms in front, levelling up to your shoulders.
- Lock the fingers of one hand with the other and then rotate your wrist outwards.
- Now breathe in and lift your arms above the head.
- As you lift your arms, lift your heels off the floor, balancing your body weight on your toes.
- Hold this posture for 10 seconds to half a minute. This can be extended to however long one is comfortable.
- Now bring your heels down.
- Breathe out and release your fingers.
- Now bring your arms down and return to the original starting position.2
Do You Know?
- Did you know that till the 20th century, Tadasana was not known to Hatha Yoga? (Hatha Yoga is the type of Yoga where the yogic exercises are stubbornly practised without any intrusion by the mind and five senses).3
- Surprisingly, it does find a mention in the 1896 guidebook of gymnastics, the ‘Vyayama Dipika’. Tadasana appears as a part of an ancient series of ‘Danda’ exercises (‘Danda’ in Sanskrit means ‘stick’)
- Tadasana has been adopted into present-day Yoga by Krishnamacharya of Mysore.1
Benefits of Tadasana:
Tadasana is one of the basic Yogasanas that has several health benefits, which are:
1. Benefits of Tadasana for Desk-job workers:
People having a desk job partake a wrong posture for prolonged hours while working. Due to this, the muscles get tightened or mal-aligned. Tadasana may be beneficial to people who have sedentary desk jobs. It may enhance core strength and improve posture. It may also be beneficial to improve the strength of weakened, curved backs.1
2. Benefits of Tadasana for Spine:
Tadasana may help maintain a healthy spine. Regularly practising Tadasana may keep the spine supple. It may help reduce lower back pain associated with nerve compression that usually occurs due to deterioration of the vertebral disc. Tadasana may play a role in correcting faulty spinal posture and decongestion of the spinal nerves.1,2
3. Benefits of Tadasana for Pregnancy:
Pregnancy can bring along a lot of stress for some women. Doing Tadasana during pregnancy helps improve posture. It improves the strength of the abdomen and lower body muscles, keeping you robust throughout the pregnancy. It also reduces stress and keeps you calm.4
4. Benefits of Tadasana for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome:
Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical and mental symptoms that occur just before menses and disappear as the menstrual flow is established. It presents with low moods, anxiety, forgetfulness, breast pain, nausea, bloating, headaches, less sleep and low energy.
Studies indicate that PMS is associated with low serotonin levels. Serotonins are chemicals in the body which help regulate mood and sleep, amongst other functions. Tadasana may help relax strained muscles and nerves, increasing the serotonin levels and thus helps get rid of low moods.5
5. Other benefits of Tadasana:
- It may help reduce hip and back pain and pain in the outer side of the leg.
- It may help in improving balance.
- It may help in reducing flat feet.
- It may potentially help tone the belly and buttocks.
- It may help regulate digestion and respiration.
- It may play a role in regularizing the nervous system .1
- It may help stabilize the entire body.2
Yoga asanas, however beneficial, must not be sought as a sole treatment protocol for any health issue. You must consult a qualified medical doctor for proper examination and treatment. Moreover, it is best to practice Yoga under the guidance of a qualified and experienced Yoga trainer, so that you can gain maximum health benefits without any adverse effects.
Risks of Exercise
The conditions in which Tadasana must be done cautiously are:
- Varicose veins-a condition where the veins get engorged and twisted.
- Arthritis-where there is swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints.
- Vertigo- a condition where the person feels that they or their surroundings are spinning.
People suffering from the above conditions must not lift their heels while assuming the Tadasana pose.2
A qualified and experienced Yoga teacher can assess the risk factors and help you practice Tadasana without any adverse effects.
Tadasana is a basic posture in Yoga and part of many other series of asanas (Example: Suryanamaskar). It has several benefits, especially for toning the abdominal muscles and strengthening the lower body. In addition, it provides a sense of stability to the entire body. It can also be done during pregnancy. People suffering from certain health conditions must practice this asana under the guidance of a trained and experienced Yoga teacher to avoid any untoward incidences.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which areas of the body does Tadasana target?
Tadasana targets the spine keeping it supple and flexible. Hence, benefits people with long hours of a desk job. It also reduces back pain. It targets the muscles of the abdomen and legs, making them strong. It helps tone up the buttocks. It also works on the hip and leg to reduce pain.1,2
Why is Tadasana called the ‘mountain pose’?
The name ‘Tadasana’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘tada’ meaning ‘palm’ or ‘mountain’ and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture’ or ‘seat’. It is also called the ‘mountain pose’ or the palm tree posture.1,2
3) How many times can Tadasana be done for maximum health benefits?
Tadasana must be practised under the guidance of a qualified and experienced yoga teacher who can advise you regarding the number of repetitions you must do obtain optimum health benefits.
4) Can Tadasana be done after meals?
Tadasana may be done after meals. Although, if you are practising any other asanas before or after Tadasana, ensure that you have your meals at least 4-6 hours prior.1,3
5) Does Tadasana help reduce back pain?
Regular practice of Tadasana may help align the vertebrae and help keep the spine supple. It may also help relieve lower back pain associated with nerve compression due to nerve degeneration.1
Can Tadasana be done if feeling unwell?
While generally feeling unwell is not a major contraindication to do Tadasana, it is advised that you consult your doctor before practising this asana.