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The Most Important Yoga Pose

Mountain pose may seem easy, but it is the foundation of nearly every other pose. Finding the right alignment and engaging your muscles can make it a challenging posture that will create great habits as you build up to more advanced asanas.

Tadasana, or Mountain pose, takes as much focus to get right as any other pose. Remember as you work on this that the details make all the difference.

Feet. Stand with your big toes together and heels slightly apart – the outer edges of your feet should be parallel with each other. Lift up the toes and fan them out before lightly letting them touch back on to the floor. All four “corners” of your feet (the top left and right ball and left and right heel) should be firmly planted with even weight distribution.

Lower body. Engage your thighs by lifting your kneecaps, strengthening your legs. We often use phrases like “tuck your tailbone” in yoga: to do that, your tailbone should be pointed straight down so that your lower spine doesn’t jut out as if your seat were sticking out. There is a counteracting force of your thighs pressing back while the hips tuck under, and this should be active work in your body!

You are drawing in all of your energy toward the center plane with opposing forces to engage your entire body.

Upper body. Draw in your lower ribs so they don’t puff out. This may cause your shoulders to round forward, so again focus on counteracting this movement by rolling your shoulders back and down to open up the front of  your collarbone. Keep your chin parallel to the floor.  This is the same position you will use when doing a handstand.

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Very little changes with this pose as you move into balancing moves like Tree pose: one leg is bent and lifted, but the rest of your body should be zipped up tight and seeking that strong, stacked sensation. The more you practice perfecting your tadasana, the more strength you will find in other poses in your practice!

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  1. Kendall Covitz

    Great description of mountain pose! I love tadasana and I agree it sets the foundation but I think the most important pose is actually savasana. I was taught the goal of yoga asana is to let go and relax the mind which is why we do the poses.

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