I was taught by one of my most influential teachers to never start with Tadasana, or Mountain pose, when teaching a class. In my earlier years of teaching I assumed it was because it was kind of “hoo hum” – not very interesting, certainly not challenging, and not a fancy pose that screams. ”Hey, look at me!”
I mean after all, can’t we at least stand on our own two feet without knocking ourselves or someone else down??
What is worth studying in this Noble form? What can the Mountain teach us? Turns out, it is the most majestic teacher of all.
Mountain pose is the basic standing pose that all other poses thread from. It is standing well on your two feet with your arms by your side, head stacked over tail. Seems easy enough…right? Well, little did you know that there is a definite way to stand well, to bring balance and lightness, to feel grounded yet be free and tall at the same time.
Mountain pose is like your favorite Grandfather, ready when you are to settle in, pause, take a breath and connect to a greater energy. It is a chance to slow down and really see how you are lining up. Are your feet straight, even, and balanced on all four corners? Do you lean too much to the heel or to the ball, to the big toe or small toe side? How is the weight distributed left to right?
The alignment observations go from the feet all the way to the top of the head. Other points of interest are knees straight and unlocked and the top of the thighs move back to create a lumbar curve . The ribs lift and float lightly over and above the hips, shoulders square, head stacked over pelvis, spine long and in its proper curves.
We get taller, take up more space, yet weigh less.
There are even more technical cues for this Majestic Mountain pose but here are a few things I notice in my Mountain…. I am at HOME. I feel the Whole of me AND the Parts of me. I feel Mind and Body unified by breath. I feel being and doing, unlimited and limited. I am stillness and movement.
I can explore expansion and contraction using my muscles and stacking my bones in this learning-to-stand-“Well” pose. It makes me feel strong and youthful. It tells me how to show up with strength yet with a softness, a resilience that gives me hope and courage to face what comes my way. It is steadiness in a World that can change in the blink of an eye and leave us all feeling behind and lost.
Mountain pose says” be here right now.” It’s a pause, a reset. It’s the place you come to NOT freak out.
If all this seems a bit nebulous, go the Mountain and stand in front of her, breath her in and then move into her beauty. The Mountain changes slightly with time and season but stands firm and open.
Her roots are of the Earth as her top aspires toward the Heavens. May we learn the way of the Mountain and hold that much steadiness and ease.
Bye for now!
Love and Peace,