Benefits and Uses
Mountain pose is a foundational yoga pose great for centering, balancing, aligning, and strengthening your body. It can be used at the beginning of a series of postures, or in the midst of your practice in order to catch your breath, re-establish your intention or focus, and/or explore your body’s optimal alignment. In actuality, its uses are endless. Though it may seem like a ‘basic’ pose, don’t be surprised if it challenges you in new ways as you deepen your yoga practice.
Stand on your mat with your feet hips distance apart (this can be roughly measured by placing your two fists between your feet). Place your feet so that the outer edges are parallel (this may make your feet appear a little pigeon toed). Feel the strength of your feet and legs as they ground you and support your body. Stand with your pelvis slightly tucked so that you have a slight engagement in your belly, and avoid sticking your buttocks out (and putting strain on your lower back). This pelvic/abdominal area is frequently known as your “core.” Imagine your shoulder blades reaching towards one another on your back, creating strength in your upper back as well as opening up your chest. Align your head by holding your chin parallel to the floor and slightly back to create one straight line moving from your back all the way up through your neck (this may initially feel exaggerated but it is actually aligning your body optimally). Let your arms come down by your sides, palms facing inward, or reach your arms up to the sky (if it’s comfortable) for extra strength and power.
Feel the mountain within you, grounded in the earth but reaching up energetically. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds or more and explore the changes in your bodily alignment by making small movements and feeling the effects.
- Breath: Use ujjayi (ocean-sounding breath) in this pose. If the sound in ujjayi is difficult for you to achieve, just focus on deep, even inhalations and exhalations. Observe where the breath is moving in your body and what effect it has on the posture. What happens if you mentally direct breath to one specific area of your body that may be feeling tired or uncomfortable? Feel free to experiment!
- Modifications: Mountain pose is generally a very safe pose and can be enjoyed during all three trimesters (or before pregnancy). If your knees or back feel strained in any way, try taking a slight bend in your knees, which should help release some of that tension. If you are feeling tired and strained in any way come out of the pose as soon as you wish.
- Release: To release simply lower your arms if they are up, or relax any holding of muscles you may be doing. Remember that if you feel tired after any posture take a comfortable seat or lie down.