Mountain Pose is usually the first pose you learn at a Yoga class. If you understand it correctly, most of the other poses should be a doddle. You basically just stand there with your arms down by your sides. But even though most of us do this every day of our lives, it can take months or even years to master the art of just standing.

One technique is to think of yourself as a flower. Your waist is at ground level: below the waist represents the roots; the spine is the stem of the plant and your head is the flower. The more you sink your roots or the area below the waist downwards, the more the spine, your stem can elongate upwards. As the lower body yields itself to gravity in this way, the upper body can grow upwards in the opposite direction. In Yoga we say you are only as young as your spine. So by allowing your spine to stretch and lengthen, you are keeping it young and flexible.

To practice Mountain Pose:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. Go up on your toes and then back on your heels a few times to exercise the arches of the feet. Then imagine you are sliding each foot into a plastic bag and allow the bones of the feet to relax out to the sides. Feel that the feet are really heavy, but the arches of the feet are quite bouncy as if you had pumped a load of air into them with a bicycle pump.
  • Allow the backs of the knees to soften.
  • To bring the pelvis into a neutral position, lift the abdomen away from the tops to the thighs and at the same time, direct the tail bone to move downwards and slightly into the body.
  • Feel the spine “grow” out of the pelvis and lengthen itself upwards towards the back of the head.
  • Open out the chest and place the middle finger of each hand on the side seam of your trousers. Each time you exhale, allow the fingers to drop down towards the floor.
  • Bring the chin down towards the chest. Inhaling, raise the head slowly, allowing it to balance lightly on top of the spine.
  • Feel like a mountain: strong, steady and calm.

If you are just starting out in Yoga and don’t know what to practice at home, do Mountain Pose for a few minutes each day and focus on your breathing. It will teach you the essence of yoga which is steadiness. Just standing still cultivates lots of energy for the body and allows you to be steady and calm. Standing in Mountain Pose also allows you to feel more powerful and confident. After a while you will want to stand like this all the time because of the enormous benefits it gives you!