By Merrell Readman
mbg Associate Food & Health Editor
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career.
If you’ve never done yoga before, then you may find the whole practice to be a bit daunting. And with moves like crow pose and the classic headstand, who can blame you? However, not every staple movement in yoga is quite so challenging–there are some poses that are relatively easy to do and act as a cornerstone to your practice. One of the most important of these moves is mountain pose.
The starting point for your sun salutation, mountain pose is a simple grounding stance that prepares the body for movement–but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean form isn’t important. Here, certified yoga teacher Phyllicia Bonanno demonstrates exactly how to set yourself up for success in your next flow, positioning your body in mountain pose.
How to do mountain pose.
Demonstrated by Phyllicia Bonanno.
Feel grounded as your crown stretches toward the sky.
Take a deep breath in, reach your arms up to the sky.
Mountain pose is relatively straightforward, but it’s still important to maintain a straight line with your body and a tight, braced core as you prepare to move into the rest of your flow. As you raise your arms to the sky, make sure you’re not also bringing up your shoulders to meet your ears–instead, they should remain pressed down in opposition to your arms. Maintaining a slight bend in the knees is always good practice, as it will help your flow become more relaxed.
Modifications & variations.
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Mountain pose really is as beginner as it comes so there aren’t any modifications or variations available to take this movement up or down a notch. This is because it’s simply a grounding stance that allows you to connect with your entire body and take a moment to breathe before beginning your practice. However, the next move in the flow is typically a forward fold.
Demonstrated by Bonanno.
As you exhale, hinge at your hips and fold your upper body forward, bending your knees if needed.
Inhale, and come into a half lift. Then exhale and lower back down.
Hold for a breath, then continue to plank pose.
Add it to your routine.
Looking for a comprehensive beginner routine to get started on your yoga journey? This 12-minute gentle flow from Bonanno is an excellent option to ease into some of the basic movements and poses that you can easily master within your practice. It’s best to start with simple moves at the beginning to create a strong base for what’s to come.
For a breakdown of all the essential moves you should know before advancing any further, check out our roundup of 17 poses to activate your body from head to toe. Yoga is an excellent form of exercises to improve flexibility, mindfulness, and even improve your full-body strength, so starting from square one with mountain pose is the best way to make sure you’re kicking off your practice on the right foot. Just remember to breathe!