It is wonderful how nature is a part of us. The sun shines not on us, but in us. The rivers flow not past but through us.

—John Muir

The purpose of yoga is to withdraw the consciousness from the body and center it in the spine. The following exercise, I Am the Mountain, will help you become more aware of your spine. It is an excellent practice for internalizing your awareness and learning to relate to life intuitively.

The I Am the Mountain meditation can be practiced alone or with another person. To begin, look for a place outdoors where it is beautiful; if this isn’t possible revisit such a place in your mind and use your imagination. Then meditate a few minutes to become calm and interiorized.

Dave Warner and Bharat Cornell doing the I Am the Mountain meditation

How the exercise works when done alone:

Quietly repeat the words “I Am.” After each time you say “I Am,” look for something in nature that captivates you — perhaps a cloud sailing across the sky or the wind playing music in the forest. Whatever it is, feel its living reality inside of you, in your spine. Enjoy it there for a few moments, and then quietly whisper a simple word or phrase that describes your experience of what you were observing. For example, it may go like this:

I Am… the drifting cloud
I Am… the waving branches
I Am… the exhilaration of the wind racing across the lake
I Am… the joy in the flowers

You can also substitute “I Love” or “I Receive” for “I Am” as in:

I Love… the serenity I feel
I Love… the blue flowers
I Receive… a wonderful joy in my heart

“I am the waving branches”

Feel a sense of communion with everything you see. Be also aware of the energy in your spine. Sensitively feel, for example, how sensing a tall tree in your spine, stimulates your energy.

Repeat “I Am,” “I Love,” and “I Receive” for five minutes, then relax and enjoy the serenity of nature within and all around you.

“I am the drifting clouds”

How to share I Am the Mountain with a friend: Choose one of you to be the prompter, who says “I Am,” and the other one to be the responder. The prompter sits behind to allow the responder an unobstructed view. Having one partner repeat “I Am” (or “I Love,” “I Receive”) keeps the other one focused and in the present moment. Doing I Am the Mountain with a friend creates a shared sense of communion with nature and with each other.

Switch roles when desired.

“I am the joy in the flowers”

Ananda Meditation App

A free app with guided meditations and techniques, based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda. Go deeper in the joy of your own Self.

Download the app

Start a New Meditation Practice or Inspire Your Current One

The 10-week Ananda Course in Meditation online course is designed to provide in-depth instruction in scientific meditation techniques that bring more peace, deeper relaxation, and focused concentration to every area of your life, regardless of outer conditions.

These techniques are based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi.

Learn more