8 Standing Yoga Poses
for Improved Balance and Stability

Standing yoga poses can re-connect your legs back to their original function, increasing strength, balance and stability throughout the entire body, but especially the supporting muscles for the lower back and spine. 



Standing Yoga Poses


Downward Facing Dog:

Downward facing dog is one of the fundamental standing yoga poses that you first learn in yoga class. You will find yourself in downward dog multiple times throughout the yoga class. It is a stepping stone pose that is used to start different yoga postures during class.

 Exercise Instructions:

  • From high plank or upward facing dog, lift your hips into the air keeping your back completely straight. Keep your hands and feet shoulder width apart. 

  • Press into your hands to pull your chest back towards your thighs.

  • Pull your thighs up while working your tailbone down towards the ground and work to press your heels into the ground.


downward facing dog yoga poseTaylor Demonstrating the Downward Facing Dog Pose


Mountain Pose:

While this looks like one of the easiest standing yoga poses, there are many points of alignment that must be perfected to properly stand in the mountain pose. From there you can get into a wide range of other yoga poses.

  • Stand with your big toes together and your weight distributed evenly across your feet, make sure you keep your hips straight. You want to keep your hips in line so you don't put too much pressure on the back of your knees.

  • Push your spine upward by lifting your chest area away from your midsection and keep your arms straight at your sides.

  • Keeping your head straight and focusing on an object directly in front of you, inhale and reach up with both of your arms. Extend them away from your body as you focus your gaze on the arms as they are going up. Turn your palms inward and have them touch at the top.

  • Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds and slowly bring them down as you exhale. 
yoga mountain poseTaylor Demonstrating the Mountain Pose


Side Lunge Pose:

This pose is aimed to stretch both sides of your body while encouraging strength in the thighs and hamstrings. When done properly this will serve as a great abdominal workout.

Exercise Instructions:

  • In a lunge position, have your front knee at a 90-degree angle with your hips open to the side.
  • Your back leg should be straight with the outside of the foot pressed into the ground.

  • Turn your torso to the side and place one hand on your thigh or the floor, whichever is more comfortable. The other arm is extended above your head towards the front of the room, palm facing down


side lunge poseTaylor Demonstrating the Side Lunge Pose

Tip:

  • Focus on lifting up your abdominals and stretching your sides as opposed to putting all of the weight into your arm or hand

More on Side Lunges



Warrior l Pose:

Warrior I is one of the most powerful standing yoga poses. It requires engagement of the entire body while serving as a great hip opener. The ankles, calves, thighs, groins, core, chest and shoulders are all working in warrior I.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Begin in downward facing dog and bring your right foot forward into a lunge with your toes facing 12 o’clock. Your front knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your shin perpendicular to the floor.

  • Your back thigh should be working and pulled up, working to straighten your back leg. Your back foot should be at a 45-degree angle with all four corners of your foot planted into the floor. Make sure your hips are squared to the front by pulling your right hip forward.

  • Hold your abdominals in as much as possible and extend your arms straight up above your head with your focus (drishti) to your thumbs.


warrior l yoga poseTaylor Demonstrating the Warrior l Pose

Tips:

  • Look down and make sure your front knee is directly over your heel for proper alignment.
  • To modify, shorten your stance and slightly straighten your front knee.


Warrior ll:

This pose follows similar alignment as Warrior I but your hips and chest are open towards the side. Warrior II also stretches the hips and builds strength. Concentration and breathing are key elements to this pose.

Exercise Instructions:

  • With your legs in the same position as Warrior I, turn your back foot so your toes point out towards the side. With your front knee at a 90-degree angle, open your hips and chest to the side.

  • Press the outer edge of your back foot into the floor for support.

  • Pull your abdominals in and your tailbone down towards the floor. Extend your arms straight out at shoulder height with your palms facing the floor.


warrior ll yoga poseTaylor Demonstrating the Warrior ll pose

More On The Warrior Poses


Triangle Pose:

This is a twisting pose as well as a standing stretch. By opening your chest, you will get an intense twist while leaning forward to stretch your hips and hamstrings.

Exercise Instructions:

  • With your legs in warrior II position, straighten your front knee and hold your arms out to the sides.

  • Slowly hinge forward at the waist and reach your front arm forward towards the front of the room. Bend at the waist and reach your arm to your shin, ankle, or the floor.

  • Rotate your chest to the side and bring your gaze up to your top arm to twist.


triangle poseTaylor Demonstrating the Triangle Pose

Tips:

  • Feel as if you are stuck between two planes of glass and keep your hips and arms stacked on top of one another

More on Triangle Pose


Chair Pose:

This pose isolates your arms and legs, particularly the thighs, and can also do a great job of tightening your abs.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Stand tall in mountain pose and extend your arms straight up in the air over your head.

  • As you tighten your abs, take an inhale and bend your body forward to a 45-degree angle keeping your arms straight and in line with your back.

  • Bend your knees and slowly lower the torso so that your thighs are as close to being parallel to the floor as possible.

  •  Lean slightly forward (as pictured) and remain in this pose for 30-45 seconds as you practice steady breathing before returning to mountain pose.


yoga chair poseTaylor Demonstrating the Chair Pose


Tree Pose:

This is a balancing pose that serves to stretch your inner thighs, groin, and shoulders. 

Exercise Instructions:

  • Stand in mountain pose and slowly bring the sole of one foot to rest either above the knee on the thigh or to the calf.

  • You may place one hand on your hip in order to make sure both hips are in line. Place your hands either at heart center, down by your sides with palms facing forward, or up towards the sky.


tree yoga poseTay Demonstrating the Tree Pose

Tips:

  • Tree is one of the most popular standing yoga poses that will help you improve your balance while calming your mind. It is an appropriate for students at all levels.

More on the Tree Pose


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I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.




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