Yoga is a form of meditation combined with movement geared toward improving strength and flexibility of both mind and body. Mountain pose, also called tadasana, is a basic pose often used to transition between sequences of movement. Although it is a simple stance, mountain pose still requires the correct alignment of the body and can be beneficial to a strength and flexibility routine.
People in mountain pose may look like they are just standing there doing nothing, but the simplicity of the move allows practitioners to ensure that each body part is held and placed correctly within the pose. To begin, stand with feet on the floor, slightly apart. Some people prefer to have their feet rotated slightly inward, with the big toes touching. Weight should be balanced evenly across both feet, care should be taken to avoid leaning forward or back too much.
Knees should not be locked in tadasana, but held straight with the muscles of the thighs slightly flexed. Care should be taken to keep the tailbone as straight as possible, not allowing it to tip too far in either direction. The navel should be pulling toward the spine constantly, but the back should neither arch nor sag. Shoulder blades are pressed down and back in mountain pose, allowing the chest to widen slightly in front. Remember that each of these alignment steps should not make the body rigid or tight, some yoga teachers suggest thinking of holding the muscles, rather than tightening them.
Arms can be held in a variety of different positions in mountain pose. They may be loosely at the sides, held palm to palm over the center of the chest, or even held straight above the head. Some yoga routines combine mountain poses with focusing on the breath, lifting the arms over the head with each inhale, and lowering them again on each exhale. When arms are lifted, take care to make sure that shoulders stay down and do not press up toward the ears.
The head and neck are held in alignment with the spine, and should be generally relaxed. Some people perform head rolls in this pose to release tension in the neck and improve alignment. Head should be held in a neutral position, neither tipped back nor forward.
Although simple, mountain pose is a balancing position that can have beneficial effects on alignment and posture. It can be used to check that the alignment of the body is correct, which can be vital to performing other poses correctly. Mountain pose can also be used as a resting pose between more strenuous series of yoga movements, particularly when combined with breathing exercises.