Standing Yoga Poses for Improved Balance and Stability
Standing yoga poses are a great starting foundation for new yogis. These 8 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.
These types of poses are very beginner friendly. They don't require intimidating movement and don't force you to make what can seem like awkward pretzel-like postures.
With practice, these fairly simple poses will help you with proper body alignment and additional flexibility of the knees and hips.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Taylor Demonstrating the Warrior l Pose
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.
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.
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.
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