Mountain Pose

Approach the front of the yoga mat with your feet about 1 foot from the edge. Stand with your feet together.  Bring the insides of the feet together and distribute the weight over both feet.  If you’re uncomfortable having your feet together, you may have them slightly apart.  Make sure your feet are parallel to each other and not one foot forward of the other.  Engage your quads without hyperextending the knees.  Make sure there is a slight micro-bend in your knees.  Roll your shoulders back bringing the shoulder blades closer together.  The palms of your hands should be facing forward.

In this position, imagine planting your feet further into the mat while the top of your head stretches toward the ceiling/sky. Do not lift your shoulders or bend your knees.

Inhale, and take a deep breath and feel your chest expand. Exhale slowly and feel your upper body relaxing.  (If you have cardiovascular issues beware of holding your breath after you inhale.  You need to continually breathe to avoid any complications).  Repeat this 5 times.  As you do so, imagine the crown of your head expanding toward the ceiling/sky with each breath.

If you want to challenge yourself with this pose, you can take the following progression. Go to the next step once you mastered the previous step:

  1. Stand in Mountain pose as described above. Raise both your arms out to the side then overhead stretching your fingertips toward the ceiling. Do this slowly so you don’t lose balance. Look up toward the ceiling/sky as you are comfortable.       Do not hyperextend where the back of your neck is squished into your skull and your throat area is stretched so it’s difficult to swallow. Take 5 breaths then bring your arms down into the original Mountain Pose position.
  2. Lift your left foot off the mat and, slowly, bring your left knee up toward the ceiling/sky. Make sure you do it slow-enough to maintain balance on one foot. Lift your knee high-enough only where you’re comfortable and balanced. Your left leg should be bent at the knee and not completely extended. Take 5 breaths while you ground yourself with your right leg like a tree. After 5 breaths, put your left foot on the floor again and repeat the above process with your right foot. If you cannot balance yourself for 5 breaths, try to do as much as you can now and work your way up to 5 breaths.
  3. Lift your left foot off the mat and, slowly, bring your left knee up toward the ceiling/sky. Make sure you do it slow-enough to maintain balance on one foot. Lift your knee high-enough only where you’re comfortable and balanced. Your left leg should be bent at the knee and not completely extended. Raise both your arms out to the side then overhead stretching your fingertips toward the ceiling. If you are losing your balance constantly, just bring both arms out to the sides and not overhead. Do this slowly so you don’t lose balance. Look up toward the ceiling/sky as you are comfortable.       Do not hyperextend where the back of your neck is squished into your skull and your throat area is stretched so it’s difficult to swallow. Take 5 breaths then bring your arms and left foot down into the original Mountain Pose position. Repeat with your right foot.
  4. Lift your left foot off the mat and, with a slight micro-bend in your knee, extend the entire leg out in front of you. Bring it as high as comfortable or as much as you are balanced. Once your knee is out in front of you, flex your quad and hold your leg up as long as you can. Continue to breathe. Bring your leg down back to the mat. Repeat with your right leg. If you need to maintain balance, you can do this while placing your hand on a table or wall for leverage. Remember not to lean to the side where your hand is touching a surface. Maintain good posture and vertical base.