The mountain pose is a simple standing pose. You stand straight with your arms at your sides. As you stand, think of yourself as being as strong and still as a mountain.
The mountain pose is the pose that you usually start out with when you are doing standing postures, and it is one that you return to in between the postures.
Even though the pose is simple, there are many things to consider in order to get the most out of it. I adopted the following pointers from a book I own, “Stretch and Relax” by Maxine Tobias and Mary Stewart, which teaches the Iyengar method of yoga. Iyengar yoga emphasizes being very precise in the postures.
1. Your feet: Stand with the outer edges of your feet parallel. Your big toes should be touching. Stretch your toes. Extend from the balls of your feet to your heels. Your weight should be evenly balanced between both feet. You should feel grounded and stable on the floor.
2. Lift up: Stretch up from your pelvis. Use your abs to help lengthen your lower spine. Lift your ribcage in the back and in the front. Open your chest. Drop your shoulders, while continuing to lift your spine. Relax your shoulders and arms. Let the weight of your arms help pull your shoulders down. Extend your neck. Your chin should not be too far forward or too far back. Feel as if a string is pulling your head up.
This sounds complicated, but the main things to remember are to feel rooted into the ground while you are also lifting your body up.
The Sanskrit name for the posture, which you might hear in yoga classes, is tadasana.