Our “Just One Pose” posts answer the question: “If I have time to do just one pose, what should it be?” This one is the most express of all, and you can do it virtually anywhere: mountain pose (tadasana). It’s simply standing there—simply, and profoundly just standing there.
When you learn to pay attention in mountain pose, both to your alignment and to your breath, you’ll have the ideal foundation for virtually every other pose. And you’ll gain experience in being present with what is happening right now, that is, mindfulness.
Stand tall with your feet under your knees and your knees under your hips. Experiment with the most comfortable distance between your feet. Hold your weight even across your feet. Level your pelvis so you feel your core muscles lightly engage. Lift through the crown of your head. Relax your shoulder blades down, and try rolling your thumbs out, as in the photo above, then keep that broadness across your chest and drop your arms by your sides. Take several breaths while feeling the groundedness through your feet and the lift through your spine.
Mountain pose is portable! You can and should do it anywhere. Shake things up by:
- Closing your eyes. If that’s too destabilizing, blink in long intervals.
- Lifting your arms. With your arms lifted, tuck your lowest ribs in so you aren’t arching your back.
- Lifting your heels. Challenge your balance by creating some space between your heels and the floor. This could be a millimeter or six inches, depending on your balance. Keep breathing!
- Finding mountain pose in a chair. Keep your ankles and knees in line as you reach your spine tall from your pelvis.