In today’s tutorial, you are going to get an in depth look at Mountain Pose. In sanskrit this pose is called Tadasana and Samsthiti. This is a basic yoga pose that is in yoga classes that can help teach you good posture. You may be wondering why I am posting about such an “easy” pose, and including a video–that’s because in today’s very sedentary life, very few people actually know how to stand up straight–which, in essence, is what Mountain Pose truly is.
Poor posture leads to several issues like neck, shoulder and low back pain. It can make it more difficult to breathe, and it can even create excess wear and tear on the joints because you aren’t supporting the structure with the muscles, rather, odds are, with poor posture, you are collapsing into the joints instead of keeping the strong, supportive muscles engaged. This leads to muscle atrophy and even more erosion of good structural parts like bones and joints.
Mountain Pose or Tadasana is actually a pretty difficult pose if you take the time to break it down and think about each component responsible for keeping you safely upright.
Here’s a quick Pop Quiz for you (YIKES! But dont get scared, I won’t grade you…everyone gets an A.)
When was the last time you went to a standing room only function–like a rock concert (Oh, the days before children!!), really full graduation (or that may have only been my nephew’s middle school program), or even just waiting in line at your favorite restaurant. Hands up if standing there HURT. Like, I’m talking it was painful in either your neck, shoulders, low back, knees–you name it.
I’m gonna go ahead and raise my hand here.
Several years ago, before children, I was able to go to a Ben Folds concert –I’ve seen him live many times and had I known this would be my last time for the foreseeable future, I may have been a little more crazy, throwing things on stage to get his attention or whatever, but alas, rearing small children definitely puts a damper on following a music artist. I digress. This concert was in an old warehouse, concrete floors, standing room only. My friend and I got there early (of course) so we could get “the good spots”–ie up close. After I don’t know how long–maybe 3 hours and a handful of adult beverages, we hobbled back to the car.
Legit, hobbled back to the car. For the duration of the concert, I clearly was not engaging the necessary muscles to keep me structure safe on such a hard surface. I was in SO much pain!
Well folks, standing for 3 hours is never an ideal situation–but people do it for work regularly, and we–as humans, used to do it more. When you do have to stand for a long time and you don’t stand properly, you pay for it–in pain.
Now, let’s figure out how we can strengthen the muscles responsible for supporting those joints and bones that are so disposed to giving us grief. Let’s learn how to properly perform Mountain Pose.
Click HERE for the video demo:
Key points to remember when working on Mountain Pose:
1) Don’t lock your knees
2) Engage your quads
3) Lengthen down through your tailbone
4) Draw your belly button to spine (to engage your abdominal muscles)
5) Hold your shoulders down and away from the ears.
6) Try to squeeze the shoulder blades together
7) Chest is proud but don’t stick your ribs out.
8) Top of the head to the sky
9) Slightly tuck your chin
11) Your hands are reaching up, pinkies towards each other or palms together
Remember, you can stand in your mountain pose at any time! It’s a great way to reinforce good standing habits and it helps to engage the muscles responsible for protecting your entire spine. (this can reduce back pain)
Did you give it a try? What did you think? Was it a little harder now that you took a minute to break every little thing down and focus on the muscles? Keep practicing, it does get easier.
My hope is, when my kids are old enough for my husband and I to go back to shows–ya, we will be THAT COUPLE–you know, the “old couple” that are hanging out, drinking adult beverages and making a lot of noise….well, I will be, my husband will probably just be embarrassed of me, going to shows and rocking out. (do young people even say that anymore? Probably not.) Well, WHEN THAT DAY COMES, my hope is that the mountain pose practice that I’ve been doing and you’ve been doing with me will really pay off and that I’ll be able to stand up with all the young “whipper snappers” for the full length of the show (ear plugs in of course, I am wiser afterall–and a little more deaf). I hope you’ll be right up there with me! Then, we can practice yoga in the morning the next day and talk all about it!
If you would like to learn more about Jennifer or if you would like to practice with Jennifer in person and you’re in the Chattanooga, TN area, come to Thrive Yoga and Wellness. We offer almost 40 classes each week in a variety of modalities from beginners to advanced, to chair and seniors all the way to super physical HIT yoga. It’s a great studio in the suburbs with ample parking and the community vibe even the folks at Cheers would be proud of. (How’s THAT for showing my age?!?!)
Or if you’re not in the area and still want to practice with me, you can totally do it for free, virtually. I even have a free free 5 day HIT (High Intensity Training) Yoga challenge you can sign up to do and get 5 free HIT Yoga classes delivered straight to your inbox. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work. You’ll take your yoga skills and strength to a whole new level and be sore in the best possible way that you won’t want to stop on day 5! I can’t wait to practice with you!
In the video, I was practicing on my still kicking Manduka Eko Mat. (that is an affiliate link, it doesn’t cost you a dime but it helps out a small business, so thank you!) I wrote a blog post about this killer mat several months ago and if you’d like to check it out and why I love it so much, go here.
This post was written by Jennifer Dixon MBA ERYT 500 and Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher. She is the lead teacher in the Thrive Yoga and Wellness 200 hr Yoga For Every Body Teacher Training program: the Chattanooga area’s ONLY modular 200 hr Yoga Alliance approved Teacher Training program that allows you to train when YOUR schedule allows. With two semesters each year and plenty of opportunity to practice and train year round, this is the BEST yoga teacher training program for busy folks. Gone are the stresses about missed training weekends, you don’t have to worry about exhaustion and tears from super long intense weekend trainings every month–with the Thrive Yoga Teacher Training program, you train when your schedule allows and live your best life now. Yoga Teacher Training should be fun, come practice with us and let us show you how! Another great perk of training at Thrive? You get an unlimited membership to the studio for one full year while you train! NO ONE ELSE offers this amazing deal (worth $1100!) and it’s the PERFECT way to get the training you want with the practice you need. Our next semester starts in August of 2019! See you on the mat soon!