Unfaltering strength and stillness. This is what comes to mind when I think of Mountain Pose (Tadasana in Sanskrit). It is also what I wish to embody throughout my day as I often struggle to maintain serenity and poise among mundane chaos in the home of three very small children. If I find myself losing my temper I try to pause in the moment with three long deep breaths. Similarly, in my asana practice I come into Mountain Pose to embrace the stillness that is ever present as long as I remember to tap into it.
This yoga pose lets me reconnect, check-in, and center. And beside these emotional benefits, it can help to improve posture, strengthen thighs, knees, and ankles, and relieve sciatica.
Here's how to do it:
1. Stand with your feet parallel and hip width apart. Lift your toes, spread them, and then ground through the entire sole of each foot. Notice the ball and heel of each foot pressing equally into the earth. Feel stability and strength in your feet.
2. Engage and firm your leg muscles. Lift through your inner ankles to strengthen your inner arches. Allow your knee caps to rise and activate your thighs.
3. Lengthen your tailbone downward as you grow tall in your spine, creating one long line of energy throughout your whole body from your toes to the crown of your head.
4. Widen your back body by pressing your shoulder blades down, away from your ears. Lift through your sternum without pressing the front ribs out. Let the crown of your head stack over the center of your body, chin parallel to the ground. Hang your arms along the torso, palms face out.
5. Keep your eyes soft or gently closed and breath in and out through your nostrils. Hold this pose from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Feel the strength and stillness.