Guest Author - Martha McKinnon
Mountain Pose or tadasana, the most basic standing pose in the practice of yoga, is considered the foundation for all others. In it you learn to stand strong and steady like a mountain, while aligning your body and improving your posture.
Standing poses are yoga’s foundational postures, helping to create balanced strength and flexibility, particularly of the feet, legs, and hips. They teach body awareness and integration and build the strength and endurance required to support more advanced poses. They can be physically challenging helping to increase your heart rate, improve circulation and energize you.
Performing mountain pose routinely will help to strengthen your feet, ankles, and legs, tone your glutes and abdominals, align your spine, open your chest, and improve your focus and posture while cultivating the feeling of inner stillness. Mountain pose has helped me learn to connect firmly with the floor through all four corners of my feet, establishing a grounded foundation from which I can stand with steady ease.
The nice thing about mountain pose is that it can be practiced anywhere, although it is best to do it in a quiet space with bare feet.
Stand with your feet hip width apart and your arms at your sides. Check out your feet and make sure they are pointing straight ahead, second toes aligned with the middle of each ankle. Stand rooted through all four corners of your feet feeling the connection with the floor. Don’t let your weight be too far forward or too far backward. Your knees should point straight ahead as you gently hug the muscles of your legs toward the bones.
Inhale as you draw the tops of your thighs back and lengthen your tailbone down toward your feet. Pull your naval in and feel the lift through the front of your body. Lengthen the crown of your head skyward as you expand across your chest and draw your shoulder blades onto your back. Softly gaze forward and breathe smoothly as you consciously relax your neck and face.
Continue to breathe smoothly as you scan your body and notice how you feel. When you are ready release and take a moment to observe the effects of this basic standing pose on your body and your mind.