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Fundamentals Practice: Growing Your Mountain

Mountains grow over the span of generations, the result of massive geological forces as the tectonic plates that cover the earth smash into each other in imperceptibly slow motion. Your Mountain Pose, on the other hand, can grow after just a few easeful poses.

About Fundamentals Practices: Fundamentals practices are appropriate for all levels. They are drawn from a relatively accessible syllabus of poses that covers all the important shapes and movements that will open, strengthen and balance the body. The instruction given is intended to be simple and broad, giving practical guidance for beginners and offering a starting point for deeper exploration for those who are more seasoned practitioners. Brand new beginners and those with injuries or physical conditions that might be affected by the physical practice of yoga should seek out the guidance of a trained teacher before starting.

In this practice, each pose or group of poses will help you create opening or balance to find the dynamic coordination of Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

The Sequence

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) – 1 min

Take this pose for a minute or two as a check-in and consider the following questions:

  • What is it like to be in Tadasana right now?
  • How is your head relating to the rest of your body?
  • Where are you pulling up?
  • Where are you pulling down?
  • Where are you pulling in?
  • How are your legs connecting to the ground?

Constructive Rest – 5 min

  • Lie down with support under your head so that your neck can be free. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor so that your back can soften and widen.
  • As you settle here, allow yourself to release into the support of the floor, letting go of anything you don’t need.

Child’s Pose – 1 min

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) – 1 min

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) – 1 min

  • Take each of these poses with a block or blocks under your head. Build the block height up so that you are not straining to reach it.
  • Soften your neck and allow your head to release away from the top of your spine into the support.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

  • Let the strong muscles of your neck soften so that your head is free to balance on the top of your spine.
  • Let your whole back body widen into the space behind you.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) – 5 min

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose) – 5 min

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

  • Allow your neck to be free and your whole head to ease up away from the top of your spine.
  • Allow your whole back to widen into the space behind you.
  • Allow your whole torso to ease up off your legs and follow your head towards the ceiling.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) – 30 sec

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2) – 30 sec

  • Take each of these poses with support under the head so the neck can be free. Hold onto your foot with a belt so that you can have better separation between legs and torso.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)/Virasana (Hero Pose)/Baddha Konasa (Bound Angle Pose) – 1 min

  • Take whichever pose is most accessible to you.
  • Have enough height underneath your sitting bones that you can sit without your back rounding.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a lift under your toes to stretch your calves – 1 min

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

  • Allow your neck to be free and your whole head to ease up away from the top of your spine.
  • Allow your whole back to widen into the space behind you.
  • Allow your whole torso to ease up off your legs and follow your head towards the ceiling.
  • Allow your ankles to be soft and your knees to release forward and away from each other and from your torso.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) – 5 min

  • Take the pose with support under your head and under your knees so that your neck and back can release.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) – 1-2 min

Ask yourself the same questions that you did at the start and compare your impressions:

  • What is it like to be in Tadasana right now?
  • How is your head relating to the rest of your body?
  • Where are you pulling up?
  • Where are you pulling down?
  • Where are you pulling in?
  • How are your legs connecting to the ground?

Next time we’ll look at an intermediate/advanced sequence that uses Tadasana as a starting point for all the other poses. Subscribe to the Craft of Living newsletter so you don’t miss out, and receive a free guide to the practice of Constructive Rest.

Additional Reading

“Yank-and-Crank” Yoga No More!
Do Less, Not More
How to Stand with Poise and Ease, Part 1
How to Stand with Poise and Ease, Part 2
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)