There are many standing poses that can be found in yoga. Most of the standing poses are used to ground down and practice balance. The most common of all the standing poses is the pose known as mountain pose. The name conveys how the pose is a strong and grounded one.
Mountain pose is seen in all flows at least once because it is a foundational yoga pose. It helps to set the foundation for other, similar standing asanas. It may look like there’s not much going on in the pose, but a lot of body awareness and engagement goes into mountain pose.
The basics of mountain pose
Mountain pose, which is known as Tadasana in Sanskrit, is one of the standing poses in yoga that targets the whole body. Every part of the body is doing something, even if it’s minuscule, in Tadasana. For instance, the shoulders are being rolled back, the core is engaged to keep a straight spine, and the feet are being rooted into the earth for grounding.
Even though all parts of the body are being engaged in Tadasana, it’s still a beginner pose. The engagement needed for this pose can be done by almost everyone. Although it’s a beginner pose, it’s still found in all levels of yoga flows because of the versatility of the pose.
The benefits of practicing mountain pose
There are so many benefits to mountain pose, the biggest benefit being that it is versatile. It can be whatever the student is needing at that time. It can be a resting pose used after a stimulating yoga flow, or it can be a moment of stillness to reconnect to the meditation of the class.
The pose also improves posture and overall body awareness. By increasing body awareness, Tadasana contributes to the foundations of other poses. It’s a pose that reminds the student to be aware of everything in the body and not just focus on one area. This is something to remember in all yoga poses.
How to do mountain pose
Step by step instructions for getting into the pose
- Start in a regular standing position, how you would usually stand throughout the day.
- From there, you can decide if you want your feet hip-width distance apart or flushed together. Make an intentional choice, and whilst doing so ground down through the feet. You can sway from side-to-side or front to back to find the middle ground in your feet.
- Going upwards through the body, ensure that the knees are stacked over the ankles but not locked in. Soften the knees and slightly engage the upper thighs.
- Tuck your pelvis under and engage your core to help straighten your spine.
- The shoulders are rolling down your back body and your arms are directly by your side with the palms facing forward.
- The neck should be in one long line with the spine, don’t crunch it forward or lean your head too far back. The gaze is straight ahead, or the eyes are closed to go inwards.
- Stay here for a few breaths grounding into the pose and breathing deeply. The breath should be soft and elongated.
Common mistakes made when doing the pose
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when trying to do mountain pose is that they stand how they normally would. They pay no attention to the small details that go into the pose and have no body awareness when in the pose.
Another mistake people make when in the pose is having an incorrect posture. The posture is one of the fundamental elements of the pose. The spine needs to be straight, the shoulders must be away from the ears, and the pelvis should be slightly tucked. Without good posture, the rest of the standing yoga poses will also be done wrong.
For someone who is trying out the mountain pose for the first time, the best tip would be to break down the pose from the ground up. Start with the feet and work your way up to the shoulders and head. This way, you’ll ensure you’re doing each element of the pose right and you have full body awareness.
Another tip for beginners would be to breathe deeply. Tadasana is used to teach people the foundations of yoga, and the breath is one of the most important. If you’re breathing deeply in mountain pose, it’ll teach you to also breathe deeply in other poses.
If someone is injured and is struggling to stand for long periods, then they should avoid mountain pose and try an easy seated variation. Similarly, if someone struggles to be on their feet for a long time then they should also avoid the pose.
It is a safe pose for most people. If anything feels uncomfortable or if someone ever experiences pain, then they should not push past that. Immediately come out of a pose if something hurts. Always listen to your body and trust that it knows best.
Variations of mountain pose
One variation of mountain pose would be high mountain. This is where, the student would be in a regular mountain pose, but would then raise their arms overhead. The shoulders would still be rolled down the back and not up towards the ears. The body would be stretching to reach the arms overhead but still have a neutral spine.
Another variation would be tree pose. This is a standing balancing variation of mountain pose whereby one foot is somewhere along the other leg with the knee going out to the side. The spine is still straight, but the hands are at the heart centre in a prayer position.
What is the standing yoga pose called?
The standing yoga pose is called mountain pose, otherwise known as Tadasana in Sanskrit.
What do standing poses do?
Most standing yoga poses teach the foundations of all yoga poses such as; balance, grounding, focusing on the breath, and working from the ground up.
Which are the 5 standing asanas?
There are around 36 standing asanas but the five asanas being asked about here could be in reference to the five warrior poses. The warrior poses are a group of standing poses found in yoga which includes; warrior 1, warrior 2, warrior 3, humble warrior, and peaceful warrior.