At first glance, Tadasana – Mountain Pose – may appear to be simple and even easy. Why would we spend more than a few seconds standing with our arms at our sides as we transition between other, more significant and challenging poses?

Answer: we feel good when we stand tall in ourselves. Our heart open, our feet grounded, our spine long, our shoulders relaxed, our breath flowing – there is no apology, no collapse. As we stand in the stillness and strength of Tadasana, we choose to feel and observe instead of react, we choose to notice what is going on in our body and mind, we choose to look inside and get to know ourselves a little better.

To practice Tadasana is to become empowered: over time, we become more attuned to the abundance of opportunity throughout our day to choose this path of self-awareness and nonreaction, to stay in the present moment.

In my own life, the really significant moments of growth have always come from me choosing to see myself – to see myself in reaction mode and then to take a moment (or a few weeks sometimes!) to get grounded again and come back to what feels more true for me.

Whether we just fell out of Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) or we had a ‘setback’ where we feel we did not succeed at something, there is always the practice of Tadasana. Because here’s the thing: whether we have picture perfect poses, or whether we have setbacks or failures is not what defines us. How we respond does – the energetic space of choosing our responses is where we grow as humans. Recently, I went through a job interview process but was not offered the job because, although they thought my skills were stellar, they had someone with more experience in the areas they wanted. In the feedback I received, I was told that I was authentic and that I know myself well. This feedback was more important to me than getting the job! Because I saw in that moment the affect and the effectiveness of my yoga practice in my life. I saw Tadasana.

We can practice Tadasana anywhere and anytime we want to re-connect to ourselves in the present. Simply take a moment to activate your feet at hip distance, lengthen your tailbone down toward your heels, engage your lower belly, lift your heart, shift your shoulders back and down, lengthen your neck, line up the back of your head with your tailbone, open your palms, activate your hands….and breathe. What happens next is entirely up to you.

by Monique Newton