How-to: mountain pose (tadasana)

Mountain pose (tadasana) seems simple, but there’s actually quite a lot going on in the body to pay attention to. This pose can be done anywhere – while you’re at work or on the go – whenever you need to pause and feel more centered.

This is a foundation pose and can be done in standing or sitting versions. Yoga practice often starts with this pose or returns to it after doing a flow sequence or holding other poses as it facilitates awareness of the effects of poses done previously.

Benefits: This poses allows you to become aware of your posture and strengthens the leg muscles. It is very centering and can help to slow and deepen the breath. It can be used to awaken the core muscles and provide more support for the spine.

Caution: If you have balance problems or very low blood pressure, do not hold the standing version of Mountain Pose very long. Practice it near a chair and sit often.

Standing version

Feet: Position your feet hip distance apart with the toes pointed forward. Gently explore the weight on your feet and bring slightly more weight in to the heel than is on the ball of each foot.

Knees: Keep them bent very slightly so they do not feel locked, rather than like a spring.

Tailbone: Gently curve the tailbone both forward and back and discover your neutral position. The spine has four natural curves, and all of these curves should be present. Maintain your neutral position.

Abdominal muscles: Gently engage the muscles below the navel.

Chest: Allow your chest to open, with the shoulders moving back and the shoulder blades down the back. Gently deepen and slow your breath.

Arms: Arms loose at the side with palms facing toward the body.

Neck: Neck is relaxed with chin level. The general feeling is that the head is suspended from above rather than have the neck and shoulders feel rigid and locked while supporting the head.

Standing not an option? You can apply the same principles of classic mountain pose to a seated version.

Seated version

Floor: Sit cross-legged on your mat or the floor. If your knees are higher than your hips, use blankets, pillows or a bolster to raise your hips until hips and knees are level.

Chair: Move to the front of the chair with both feet on the ground about hip distance apart. If your feet do not reach the ground, use a block or pillow to provide support and not let the feet dangle.

Pelvis: Gently move forward and back and side to side to become aware of your sits bones, making sure your pelvis is in neutral.

Arms: Rest loosely on the thighs with palms up. If more back support is needed, place your palms on the floor/chair on either side for support.

Kate Seago, UK employee and MoveWell yoga instructor
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