Mountain pose, or Tadasana, is one of the basic yoga positions that beginners can perfect. This move is simple and strong, and it’s the foundation of all yoga standing poses including the warrior series of poses.
As a great starting point, you can begin your yoga routine with mountain pose and easily transition into the rest of your poses such as downward dog. It can also be used as a resting pose for the moments between movements.
And not only that – mountain pose is also a wonderful way of improving posture, as it straightens the spine, elongates the body, and relaxes the shoulders. So this basic yoga pose can even be used on its own as a quick meditative moment in a hectic day!
We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to show you exactly how to practice your mountain pose, and how to perfect it so that you can start incorporating it into your routine.
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Preparing for the Mountain Pose
Before we get started, make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing that you can easily stretch and move about in – although mountain pose is a still standing position, you can prepare for the rest of your routine and further relax with clothes that aren’t too tight.
You might want to invest in a yoga mat if you don’t already have one. Although mats aren’t absolutely necessary (especially for this pose), they are a great way of balancing and holding poses without slipping. Safe yoga is happy yoga!
Once you’ve got yourself comfy and ready to go, come forward onto your mat and get started with the 5 detailed steps below.
If you have ever taken yoga classes, you may already know these steps!
Step-by-step Instructions for the Standing Mountain Pose
First things first: getting your feet in the right position. This is how you will create and hold your balance, so weight distribution is important.
On your mat, stand with your feet together, so that your big toes are just touching in a way that feels natural and not strained. Your heels should be slightly apart.
To get the right weighting and to relax into your feet, lift up your toes and spread them, and then gently lay them back down on the floor. Slowly rock back and forth, and from side to side to really ease into this pose.
Now gradually slow to a stop, so that your weight is evenly distributed and you feel comfortably balanced on your feet.
Imagine there is one long line of energy running from your head down to your feet. Feel the strength in your legs by firming your thighs and lifting your kneecaps, whilst maintaining engaged abs that aren’t strained.
Lengthen your tailbone and lower back, lifting the pubis up towards the navel to really engage your pelvis and lower stomach and maintain one strong line throughout your body.
Focus on the energy traveling up through your body, starting at the base of your feet, into your arches and inner ankles, and right up your thighs, hips, torso, until it travels up and out through the crown of your head.
Now start engaging the shoulders: press your shoulder blades back, pushing them into your spine in a gentle motion. Now widen them so that they feel broad and strong, and release them back down into your back.
Focus on keeping your ribcage relaxed and be sure not to push them forward. Lift your sternum (or breastbone) straight up towards the ceiling, opening up and widening your collarbones as you do so.
Your arms should be hanging loose and quite relaxed by your sides, as extended as is natural and comfortable without pushing or stretching.
This chest and shoulder expansion will help strengthen your standing position and balance your weight across both legs.
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It’s important, once you’ve found your balance, to be able to maintain it. Make sure that the top of your head is directly above the base of your neck and the centre of your pelvis.
Your chin should be extended in a natural way, not pushed out far but not pressed into your neck at all – your throat should be soft, not strained in any way. Check that the underside of your chin lines up parallel with the floor. This will ensure that your posture is perfectly straight and you will keep your balance.
Make sure that your head feels soft as well as strong – it might sound difficult, but it’s all about striking the perfect balance. Your tongue should be resting softly, flat and wide on the floor of your mouth. Your eyes, cheeks, lips, and nostrils should be soft and naturally relaxed.
How long you hold this pose is completely up to you. Some people use this easy position as a transition between other yoga poses, and so might only hold it for 2-3 breaths at most.
However, you get the most out of your yoga moves when they are held for a decent amount of time – that’s how we build up strength and stamina and start making real progress.
We recommend holding mountain pose for about 8-10 deep, long breaths. Completely fill up your lungs as you inhale, and totally empty them as you exhale. This is critical for balance and relaxation.
These easy steps will help you hone the perfect posture and weight distribution for mountain pose. By focusing on the intricacies of your body, muscles, and breathing, you will achieve a more relaxed, meditative state.
And remember – if you’re struggling to keep your balance, try standing with your feet slightly further apart, from about 3 to 5 inches extra, to help you ground yourself. You can end the position with Padamasana pose which will help you to relax.
What Are the Physical Benefits of the Mountain Pose?
Mastering your Tadasana has so many wonderful benefits: it can help improve posture, strengthen the legs, abs and buttocks, and even reduce back pain if practiced regularly. Mountain pose has even been shown to help relieve the effects of fallen arches (flat footedness) and sciatica.
You can learn the mountain pose and other poses in yoga classes around the country!
Yoga Montain Pose: Modifications & Variations
If you feel like increasing the challenge, you can try closing your eyes. This will force you to improve your balance by being unaware of your environment, making you focus on what your body tells you.
If you feel as though you’re not properly aligning yourself, you can stand with your back up against a wall. Make sure that your shoulder blades, your lower back bone, and the backs of your heels are touching the wall so that your body is properly aligned.
You can also try using a partner for this pose, which can really show you where you might be going wrong with your posture and alignment.
By getting your partner to stand beside you, they can check that the centre of your ear is in line with the centres of your shoulder, hip bone and ankle bone. Make sure these points are all perfectly lining up, and that the line they form is perpendicular to the floor.