” The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and anti-depressants aren’t enough” Amy Weubtraub
Don’t be fooled. This seemingly insignificant looking yoga pose can teach us all so much about standing on our own two feet and coming back to our centre. Tadasana or mountain pose as it is known, helps to distribute the weight of our body evenly over our feet.
It encourages us to stay grounded, improves alignment and supports a better flow of energy throughout the body. I can hear my yoga teacher now, “Balance ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips and hips over ankles, tuck your pelvis slightly, roll back your shoulders and lift your chest, just a little”.
Over the years Mountain pose has taught me lots about my body and how I hold it. I’ve found it to be naturally grounding, encourages the mind to become calm and focused (great for boosting concentration), opens up the meridians, wakes up the legs, lengthens the waist, spine and neck, nourishes the root chakra, strengthens the abdomen and above all promotes a tall, strong stance.
Mountain pose at a glance:
Believe it or not this pose is quite complex and detailed. Each year I seem to learn new little adjustments or corrections that I can do to further improve my mountain posture.
However, my intention with this article is to inspire you (hopefully) to take a closer look at your posture more often, so I’ve shared a simple overview of mountain pose.
Practice anytime you want for at least 8 breathes, particularly when you feel the need to come back to your centre. I find it perfect for when I’m feeling rushed.
1: Ground the four corners of your feet:
Stand with your feet together. Big toes touching. Arms by your side.
Spread your toes and feel the four corner points of your feet really sinking into the ground.
1 - The ball of the big toe
2 - Ball of the little toe
3 - Left side of the heel
4 - Right side of the heel
I remember when I first practiced this simple action I discovered that I was often leaning forward with more of my weight slightly towards my toes. A sure sign that my head was in front of my shoulders and my mind was racing at a hundred miles an hour.
2: Lengthen your waist, spine and neck:
Next, stand tall by subtly lengthening your waist, then spine and neck. I use a few rounds of belly breathing to help create some more space in my body.
Roll shoulders back and allow your chest to naturally lift and open up.
Keep neck, shoulders and jaw relaxed. Soften your throat.
3: Balance your ears over your feet:
Feel the weight of your body evenly distributed over your feet. You can sway around a little until your find your natural centre or exagerate and notice what it feels like to have more weight towards your heels, toes or favouring either side of any foot.
Balance ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips and hips over ankles.
To complete this posture simply activate the energy in your arms by stretching your fingers.
4: Watch out for these common mistakes:
Leaning too far forward with your head.
Shoulders hunched or tight.
Knees jammed. Keep them soft.
Stomach extending too far, spilling out energy. Place one hand on your lower back and one hand on your abdomen to help tilt pelvis slightly forward. I’m prone to a sway back so this is one minor adjustment I continually have to correct.