To the untrained eye, mountain pose in yoga might just look like standing, but that's not exactly what it is. Mountain pose seeks symmetry to find comfort and good posture. It's even considered yoga's foundation pose, because all poses strive for the kind of alignment and symmetry found in mountain pose. The goal of mountain pose is to become so comfortable in your alignment that you could stand in that position continually without feeling any pain.
- Begin standing with hips directly over your feet (feet will be hips-width apart).
- Feet should be parallel to each other and straight, like the number 11.
- Feel your shoulder girdle balanced over your pelvis.
- Direct your gaze forward.
- To open your collar bone, turn palms to face the front of the room.
- Feel how your body fills space in all directions, from its roots (at the feet) to its peak (at the head).
If you have flat feet and are unable to find comfort in your alignment, mountain pose can be modified with a block. With practice, mountain pose can even help rebuild the arches in the foot to avoid problems such as bunions.
- Place the yoga block between your thighs.
- Return to proper alignment, with feet directly under hips and shoulders over your pelvis.
- Externally rotate your thighs; it will feel as though you're pushing the block forward. Turning your thighs this way helps engage the arches of the feet, and all of your leg muscles will stack over the solid foundation.
- Once your foundation feels solid, find freedom in the upper body by rolling shoulders or rocking your neck until you find a place that feels comfortable and peaceful.
- Take a few deep, connected breaths.
When you train to stand symmetrically in mountain pose, you're training for a healthier way to stand in life, whether you're waiting in line at the grocery store or filling the car with gas.