Mountain pose (Tadasana) is the foundation for a strong and steady practice. While it may seem quite basic, there are a number of subtle alignment principles that can be applied and carried through to many of the standing poses in yoga.
Just as it’s important to establish a stable foundation from the feet up in the pose, practicing a well-aligned Mountain pose is important in understanding how to set the body up safely, as well as how to stand tall and true in your own skin.
Benefits of Mountain Pose
Mountain pose strengthens the thighs, knees and ankles, and tones the abdomen and glutes. Practicing Mountain pose can help to improve posture, reduce flat feet, relieve sciatica, and can also aid in kinesthetic awareness and proprioception.
Mountain Pose Step-By-Step
- Come to stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart. Lift and spread your toes wide, releasing them down to the ground, and root down through all four corners of your feet — the big toe mound, pinky toe mound, and the two outer edges of your heels.
- Engage your thighs to lift your kneecaps slightly (without hyperextending your knees). Gently draw your energy in toward the midline of your body.
- Lengthen your tailbone down toward the floor and find a neutral pelvis.
- Draw your low ribs in to your body and press your shoulderblades into your back, lifting your sternum. Move your shoulders away from your ears, and broaden your collarbones.
- Relax your arms by your sides, and turn your palms to face forward to open up through your chest.
- Bring your chin parallel to the floor and soften your face and jaw. Get tall from the soles of your feet up and out through the crown of your head.
- Remain in the pose anywhere from 5 to 10 breaths.
- If your balance feels unsteady in this pose, you can separate your feet to be hip distance apart and parallel as opposed to having the big toes touching.
- To help find a neutral pelvis, imagine the pelvis as a bowl of water, and try not to “tip” any water out.
- Try squeezing a block between your thighs to feel a slight internal rotation of the legs and the subtle firming action required of the inner thighs.
- Practicing Mountain pose with your back against a wall can help to encourage the necessary alignment of the spine in this pose. Stand with the backs of your heels, sacrum and shoulderblades touching a wall, and think about stacking your joints on top of one another — your ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders.