Good posture is essential to proper form in IYO yoga. It also helps allow your body to achieve or maintain good health. It feels better, looks better, and is better for your body. Good posture also influences your feelings and thoughts. If you stand up straight and tall, you’ll think more positive thoughts. It’s true! Try it! Good posture extends beyond the practice of your yoga postures. You spend a lot of your life standing—but do you stand well? The next time the fact that you’re standing comes to mind, notice how you’re doing it, whether you’re in line at the grocery store, filling up at the gas station, or stir-frying vegetables at the stove. Chances are, you’ll notice that your posture is less than straight, tall, aligned, and balanced. Maybe you carry one shoulder higher or lower than the other. Maybe you shift your weight to one hip, or stoop forward, or lean your head to the left or right. Even if you’re fairly balanced, you may not be standing as tall as you could be, and your muscles may not be in command over gravity or bad habits. Posture is more important to your health than many people realize. Ask any chiropractor—if the body isn’t aligned, the energy gets “clogged” in certain areas and doesn’t flow freely. If part of you is energy deprived, you’re out of balance, and the more out of balance you become, the greater your chances of succumbing to stress, depression, and disease. Good posture helps a body to heal itself, so help your body to be its best. Mountain pose, can help you train your body to stand straight and tall.
You may be tempted to flip to the back of the book to look for the poses you think look more difficult or impressive. We urge you to stay right where you are! Standing poses, and mountain pose in particular, provide an important training ground for all the IYO yoga asanas. If you don’t know how to stand like a mountain, all your other poses will show it. Let’s consider the importance of standing poses. Standing poses develop and strengthen your legs, those all-important limbs and vehicles of motion. Standing poses also improve your balance, align your hips and spine, and maintain equilibrium throughout your body. Master the standing poses before you attempt to master the more complicated ones, such as balance poses and poses on the floor that require more advanced flexibility and/or strength. If you practice standing poses regularly you’ll notice an almost immediate improvement in your leg and hip flexibility, as well as increased strength and general stability throughout your entire body. Your balance and posture will improve, too.