During yoga teacher training, the favorite topic that causes 99% of the participants get jump-on-the-couch-Tom-Cruise-style excited is postures. And there a few confused looks when I start with mountain pose and claim it the most important of them all.
I can’t blame them.
Out of the 50 poses we dive deep into why would such an innocent (and seemingly easy) one like mountain pose be the most important?
It all starts with Mountain Pose
In Dona Holleman‘s Dancing on the Body of Light (don’t go looking for it, it’s long out of print.) she dedicates seven and half pages to explaining the anatomical positioning for mountain pose.
She writes, “Tadasana (mountain pose) contains all the postures in the same way as white light contains all the colors of the rainbow.”
By this, she refers to how every pose has some element of mountain within in. It may only be an elongated spine, or a knee in alignment with your ankle, but it’s there all the same. Therefore when you understand the individual elements of mountain pose, you will be that much better able to “execute” the other poses.
mountain pose starts with your feet
I can’t retype 7.5 pages (that’s a naughty thing to do without copyright permission) but I can share the important functions your feet provide in mountain as well as all standing postures.
mountain pose (feet) recap
Here’s a quick recap for proper feet positioning in mountain pose:
1. Your feet need to be hips-width distance apart for optimal alignment and stacking of your joints.
2. Your feet need to be parallel, toes facing forward, in order to engage your thighs and protect your low back.
3. Your weight needs to be evenly distributed through the four corners of your feet.
There’s so much to pay attention to, and that’s just with your feet. There are six more alignment considerations and I cover them in the full video available in the Mini Yoga Teacher Training.
One of the best ways to prevent injuries in yoga asana classes is to understand, first, the pose and its purpose, then understand how your body responds in those poses so you can adapt as necessary.
My goal when instructing individuals is to show the functional side of yoga. We see enough of the pretty aesthetics and cirque de soleil poses. What most of us need from our yoga practice is increased range of motion, better circulation, and consistent stress relief all while having a body with fewer aches and pains.