In Mountain pose I come to my senses and myself. I arrive and meet myself where I am, as I am, in this place, now. I watch my mind and observe the sensations in the parts of my body and my body as a whole. I feel, I breathe, I am as everything changes. The Mountain pose, and mountains themselves, are apparently still, but are they? To be static, inert, devoid of movement is to be dead and neither mountains, nor myself, nor the process of life is dead. When I think I know the Mountain, I stop learning; and Mountains have so much to teach. This seemingly fixed thing, when I really start to be with it, has depth, layers, activity; it is dynamic, shifting, and in movement. Mountain is a metaphor for me, for living, for love, for life. None of these things are able to be limited to the confinements of definitions, and when I try to do so, I suffer. All of these things are in a process; I am too a process. There is no final posture, there is no final outcome, no end. The Mountain peaks leads to another valley where I can see in the distance another Mountain awaiting. It keeps going.

To climb the mountain is to have a goal in mind, an aim, a destination. But such things are not the climb; ideals and aspirations do not get me anywhere, they do not get me closer to the top. They are initiators, they are the longing, the hope, the desire. But then I have to walk, moving one foot after the other, taking a step at a time. I have to actually get my feet on the ground and begin. The climb requires my engagement, perseverance, effort, and hard work!

Sometimes the paths are rough, rugged, and steep. Other times the terrain smooths out, becoming flat, allowing me to catch my breathe and perspective. Sometimes I am underneath a canopy of trees where I can hardly see anything outside of myself and closest surroundings; other times there is spaciousness, a broadened perspective. Sometimes I am out and exposed in the heat of the sun; other times I am among shade clouds and rainstorms, at times even thunder and lightning have me looking for shelter. As I near the top the landscape becomes more desolate, barren and lonely.

With too much ambition and attachment to the goal I miss the process of the climb and all that it offers. The rocks to scramble on, the moist moss to touch, the sound of waterfalls and small streams, new plants emerging, the smells of wintergreen, wet leaves and flowers, and my place within it all. A being moving within a landscape, moving with a landscape. The top, the vista, the view, is the victory for me to take in, hopefully the same way I have been with the process of getting there. Because, ultimately, the view also doesn’t last. I again climb away from the top, heading towards the foothills. It is all impermanent.

My mind and my physical body both must be strong and stepping together in harmony. Both of my feet, my two halves, walking. One, then the other; they support each other, they are interdependent. My feet carry me, they are the point of connection between my body and the play of Earth. They too, have many parts that come together in unison. Each part providing and fulfilling its own role; each part complete onto itself and yet still a part of the whole. The heel takes my weight, root me down, standing me in place receiving all that I am. My metatarsals and toes provide that needed counterbalance, helping to stabilize me. The nerves allow me to feel myself and all that I am interconnected with. I stand alone, only so far as my body goes; in Truth and with the Light, I am standing with everything else. We stand alone, together. We are like the forest of trees in the Mountain. Standing alone, together.

My stance gets stronger, when I embody its fullness. It wobbles other days. It tells me about myself. In my stance I find my own Self and recognize the need for others, the value of friendship, of loving, of living. As I become this “independent” being, just like my heel, complete unto itself, I can co-create with others with a sense of reciprocity. Then I know I give, I receive; life is in the exchange.

I remember that I create my future from where I stand now. My past is behind me. There is always opportunity to connect from a different place, to look at the view from all sides. My life changes, always. When I am willing to make the trek alone, knowing that I am not alone, I can come together but in a different way. A way of gratitude, of humility, of appreciation and celebration. The climb is not the same even if the Mountain is, but I do become more aquanted with the trails and steps as I go, recognizing patterns and potential.

From the Mountain I can learn everything, but what I have learned most is that it is better to not know and stay open, alert, awake, alive. To be the bridge for the Divine in a similar way that my feet bridge me to myself and to Her. I can relax and stand. Or I can engage and lift. Either way, I meet the moment. Can I meet and be with what is in all of its freshness? The climb is in the climbing, love is in the loving. Life is bunch of verbs, not nouns.

Mountains are in the movement. They stand upright and in their independence but within a range. They stretch over miles of landscapes are also are among other landscapes to which they are instrinsicly a part of and cannot be seperated from. The lines of this and that are not as easily defineable as I would like, and I am much more porous as I take myself to be. Just as the mountain, seemingly still but actually moving.

There are no “right” ways to climb a mountain; I go as I choose and there are always moments to make another choice and change course. Sure, there are paths that are more direct and clearly defined but the ways to the top are countless and is it making it there that really matters in the end? It is the unfolding of the ascent with awareness, presence and attunement that offers joy, contentment and a sense of belonging. If I rush I’ll miss the moments of my life.
Renounce limitations, pray, and trek on!

Warm-ups I like to do some type of dynamic warm-up for Tadasana. I find I want to move my body often before standing still.
Sun Salutation, Rejuvination, Downward Dog > Plank, Swinging Dog, Empty Coat Sleeves
Cool-Downs After mountain I enjoy lying in Savasana.
Alignment Explore the stance in Mountain Pose. Where do you feel stability? How do you know when you have found that stability? Is it something static or does it require you re-adjustment? Are your feet together or further apart? How do you stand – are your toes pointed in or out naturally; can you bring them to face staight? Standing Straight. How is it to make the outside edges of the feet parallel with the mat? How is it to place the weight on the heels? On the front of the feet? Pushing down through the arches?
Find the balance between grounded, and the lift.
Find a comfortable place for the feet. Gently lift and spread the toes and lower them back down. Explore the distribution of weight in the feet by rocking forward and backward, side to side, until you feel centered.
Engage the legs by drawing the kneecaps up, lifting the quadriceps.
Lift the center of the body; imagine you are drawing up from the center of the head.
Keep the arms down by the sides of the body palms facing eachother.
Stand in stillness.
To exit, gently release the knees.
Close the eyes and vizualize a mountain. Notice how it effects the quality of the body.
Bring to mind a virtue you wish to cultivate. Stand in the mountain and see what arises. Note any similarities between the qualities with which you would describe mountain and the virtues that may come to mind.
Ask yourself: How can I stand with my heart? How do I stand with myself? What do I stand for?

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