Grounding yoga poses help to quieten the mind. You literally ‘earth’ yourself to the ground to foster a sense of being centered, calmness and connection.
The Mountain Pose is a basic grounding yoga pose. In this pose, you align your body with good posture as you stand activated and grounding through the feet.
The Mountain Pose is one of the best grounding yoga poses because it requires a solid foundation through the feet and a straight spine that allows free movement of energy both up and down.
There are many alignment clues you could focus on to come into the Mountain yoga pose:
- Stand with your feet walking distance apart to improve your balance. If you prefer, keep the feet together.
- Breathe steadily and rhythmically, as you would normally. Draw your awareness inward. Focus on the present moment, letting the thoughts of the day fade away.
- Press your weight evenly across the balls and arches of your feet and become aware of the sensation of the soles of your feet touching the ground. Ground your feet firmly into the earth and press evenly across all four corners of both feet.
- Lift your toes and spread them apart. Then, place them back down on the floor, one at a time, with awareness of the sensation of each touching the ground.
- Draw down through your heels and straighten your legs, keeping the knees soft.
- Draw the top of your thighs up and back, engaging the quadriceps. Rotate your thighs slightly inward, widening your sit bones.
- Tuck in your tailbone slightly, but do not round your lower back. Lift the back of your thighs and release your buttocks. Keep your hips even with the center line of your body.
- Bring your pelvis to its neutral position. Do not let your front hipbones point down or up; instead, point them straight forward. Draw your belly in slightly and keep it soft.
- As you inhale, elongate through your torso. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head, toward the back of your waist.
- Broaden across your collarbones, keeping your shoulders in line with the sides of your body.
- Press your shoulder blades toward the back ribs, but don’t squeeze them together. Keep your arms straight, fingers extended, and triceps firm. Keep the elbows soft. Allow your inner arms to rotate slightly outward.
- Elongate your neck. Your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles should all be in one line.
- Keep your breathing smooth and even. With each exhalation, feel your spine elongating. Softly gaze forward toward the horizon line. Hold the pose for up to one minute.
- Work the pose from the ground up. Notice and align your feet, heels, arches, and toes. Then, bring your awareness to your ankles. Continue upward to your shins, calves, and thighs. Find alignment in your tailbone, pelvis, and belly; and then in your collarbones, shoulder blades, arms, and neck. Finally, extend the pose through the crown of your head.
- To find your center of balance, slightly lean your whole body forward, then backward; then to the left, and then to the right. Realign yourself so that your ears, shoulders, hips, and heels are in a straight line with your weight even across both feet.
- To find the neutral balance of your pelvis, imagine your pelvis is a bowl filled with water. Tip your front hipbones forward (your butt will stick out) and the water will spill over your front thighs. Tuck your tailbone and round your low back and the water will spill over your back thighs. Practice tipping and tucking a few times to find the neutral balance of your pelvis -where the “water” will remain steady and not spill.
- Check and correct your alignment every time you come into the Mountain Pose.
Practise Mountain Pose and other grounding yoga poses as often as you want to during the day.
If you are in need of grounding, avoid doing yoga poses like back-bends, since they may further agitate your mind. Also, avoid heating series such as quick sun salutations and opt for gentler practices to help calm your mind. Focus on your foundation and your connection with the ground beneath you, and visualize your energy moving downward.