Many schools of yoga have their own formula or recipe of “cues” to get students into Tadasana/ Mountain Pose. The purpose of Tadasana from a strictly anatomical perspective is to teach proper postural alignment, i.e. a biomechanical neutral position of the muscles, bones, joints and tissues. Once the structural anatomy of Tadasana is understood and embodied, it creates healthy breathing habits and positively affects your mood. Additionally, you can be calm, happy and healthy not just in the pose, but also when you stand in line at the grocery store reading Us Weekly magazine.

If you are a yoga seeker/explorer like me, and you study with teachers from multiple schools and yogic lineages, you are given different cues in Tadasana. I lived in FIVE different states over the course of nine years.  Because of this, I had the opportunity to study with many teachers from varied backgrounds. Some places I lived had more Bikram, Ashtanga, and Power Yoga teachers and studios, others had more Anusara, Kundalini and Iyengar teachers and studios. Sometimes I felt like a bouncing ball ping ponging all over the country from style to style and studio to studio.  Other times, I was grateful for the opportunity to explore so much and then be able to decide for myself which methods resonated most with my body, mind, and soul at the time.

As you can imagine, being a diligent student of so many different schools of yoga for many years was CONFUSING! By the time I completed my 200 and 300 hour teacher trainings, I had memorized the cues to teach Tadasana from my training as well as the other Tadasana cues from other lineages. The problem was that I didn’t know what was “right” or “wrong” for my body or my students’ bodies, because the cues were universal or energetically esoteric. Unfortunately, those cues were unhelpful when teaching to a room full of uniquely beautiful bodies.

On the home front, I knew I was a “rib popper” and that the external rotators of my shoulders were in a state of overuse at the time (see my blogs:  “Happy Tail vs. Sad Tail: Which Way Do You Tilt?” and “Are Your Shoulders in Your Back Pockets?”).  Was I a “bad student” if I didn’t open my heart, lift my sternum, and outer spiral my arm bones during Tadasana after the teacher cued it?

Once again, I searched outside of the yoga community and dogma of guru lineage for some unbiased anatomy-based answers. My Pilates teacher, Rise Karns Stokstad, taught us anatomy in my STOTT Pilates teacher training, and I went to her twice weekly for privates. She helped me to shine a light on my own good and not so good postural habits, and how to practice Tadasana, while maintaining the normal curves of my spine.

The next step was that I needed to be able to teach Tadasana in a group class to a room full of individually different bodies. As they say, “Ask, and you shall receive.” During my Yoga Tune Up® teacher training, I learned “implied anatomy” and how to coagulate complicated anatomical concepts into simple and easy to perform poses such as Tadasana.  Tuning up your Tadasana involves a heightened activated stance that coordinates the following:

  1. Active static stretch
  2. Isometric contractions of all leg and hip muscles at once
  3. Attempted PNF contractions of all muscles and joints being stretched in Tadasana
  4. A Tubular Core (see my blog called “Navel to Spine: Are You Hyperventilating Yet?”)

All of the above are done with Unmani Mudra, which is an attitude of relaxation.

Read about the most important part of a yoga pose.

Learn about Yoga Tune Up at home.

Find a Yoga Tune Up class or workshop near you.

Trina Altman

Trina Altman E-RYT 500, is an Integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher trainer, STOTT PILATES® certified instructor, and a graduate of YOGAspirit Studio's 500-Hour Yoga Therapy Program. While at Brown University, Trina took a Kripalu yoga class which ignited her passion for the practice. She teaches weekly Yoga Tune Up® and Pilates Tune Up™ classes throughout Los Angeles, and trains yoga teachers in anatomy and in Yoga Tune Up® across the country. She is an Rx Series teacher trainer for Equinox, is on the faculty of Kripalu, one of the nation's premiere yoga institutions, and is a regular presenter at yoga and fitness conferences such as ECA, Yoga Alliance, SYTAR and many others. Trina's teaching fosters body cognition and self-discovery, firmly grounded in anatomical awareness. She builds bridges between the mystical and the pragmatic, and specializes in helping others to access their body’s tissues and their heart’s purpose.

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As Laurel reminded us in classs today, we are students of our students. Learning their body’s and helping them with cues more specific to them takes time and insight.
The more we learn, the more there is to learn.. it seems there is so much going on in Tadasa na that achieving a state of calm seems nearly impossible! Practice,practice,practice!

Karen McGovern

What a powerful explanation of tadasana. Looking forward to using the four cue outlined in the blog. All that and relax at the same time. Very difficult.

Karen McGovern

I guess the bottom line is there is no right or wrong way to do tadasana. It depends on your body and the lineage of yoga training. Ultimate you must do what feels right for your body.

Mélanie Roy

Thanks for the article. Tadasana is the basis of all other yoga postures and remains a posture that is sometimes difficult to achieve because it seems so simple at the base.


Great Read. Thank you for writing this!! we need more! Love those four Point, Definitely will share with my students.


Great article- I too find the pnf helps me in that pose

Bonnie Bloom

Thanks. for me the most interesting piece is the list at the end. Unmani mudra (relaxation) is ultimate part of this pose but keeping the contraction of tubular Core and the isometrics of muscles of the legs and hips to the bone is no small thing. then it becomes a standing meditation.

Julie Rosier

Great article. I like the clear directions for how to Yoga Tune Up Tadasana and your personal story.

Chris N

Great article, Trina! Tadasana is definitely one of the most deceptively challenging postures.

Michelle Jordahl

I like the idea of all the cuing and benefits from this pose . It is confusing to go to many different types of classes even though they all include tadasana. Tucking the tailbone helps keep you in the right posture for the pose.


Jill’s Tadasana is extremely active and i get overwhelmed of the cues for the DOM’s of my hips. It seems to me that this poise should be as simple as stacking the joints!

Robert Ouellet

Tadasana is so different from school to school in Montreal. Some time i feel this a pose before you to war, other time time it is like a mystic mountain where some guru talk of the colour of the divine and the strange form of the chakra etc! But in this blog of madame Altman , she focused on the base of a good Tadasana. I will go back in my practice with her 4 “commandements” to realize a better approche to the pose. And a special thank to Maureen to her image of the number 11 on the mats… Read more »


My Yoga Tune Up Instructor cues us to have our feet on our mats in the number 11 to help remind us to keep our feet parallel and straight ahead. It’s the first thing I do when she asks us to get into Mountain Pose.

Wendy Melville

Tune Up Tadasana is the new netral for me . My body is grounded and safe, breath flows smoothly. Thanks for this great article. I’m a student of yoga and a teacher, I have been looking for the tools to bring real healing into my practice and classes. Tune Up is the path I have chosen.

Jessie Dwiggins

I feel in my tadasana similar to how you felt in yours; for such a simple pose, it’s a mystery. When I isometrically activate the muscles around my I can more easily feel where my pelvis should be. Cool tune up!

alexandra breault

je ne reussissait jamais a comprendre dans cette postutr si j etais bien placee et du a une lordose au bas du dos je trouvais toujours tres inconfortable les ajustements fait par les professeurs pour amener mon bassin au neutre. maintenant , depuis la formation tunep je comprend bien la posture et surtout comment bien l’enseigner et y etre bien placé et corriger ma posture 🙂