It is common knowledge that practicing yoga can bring multiple mind-body benefits. Plus, it can help heighten your spiritual health in ways too! This age-old practice is known to reduce stress, relieve pain, combat anxiety, and enhance the quality of your sleeping habit.
But have you heard that yoga is also an excellent exercise for your legs? Yes, you heard that right. This is because yoga practice focuses on improving your balance, flexibility, and power in your lower body.
That said, in this guide, let’s get to know the ten standing yoga poses – beginner to intermediate poses -, tips on how to do them easily, various props that can help you along the way, and of course, the benefits you will reap.
Standing Yoga Poses: Everything You Need to Know
First of all, why should we even care about these standing poses? Apparently, for multiple reasons as poses like this provide a lot of mind-body benefits.
Balancing poses such as these can allow you to work on your power and concentration. You can also acquire other amazing yoga benefits like a lighter, calmer mind and better awareness. (By the way, if you have ever wondered, “How do I choose a good quality strap?“, we have an in depth answer for you now!)
Even beginners can get these yoga poses right and achieve the same mind-body benefits. There are specific standing yoga poses for seasoned yogis to help build your focus more and support you as your practice goes deeper.
The yoga practice requires you to bring your focus inwards, developing a sense of connection towards your body and mind through practice.
According to a study, standing poses help improve your balance which is also suitable for refining your performance in sports. A better balance can help you from falling, and that it strengthens your muscles and joints.
In yoga, standing yoga poses require enough concentration that can also refine your focus on and off the yoga mat.
These kinds of yoga poses have been identified to reduce stress symptoms and tension while improving your focus and brain function. In the end, these will provide you with valuable qualities to better handle your daily lives.
Tips for a Better Practice
Whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for some time now, there are a lot of standing yoga poses suitable for your level. And whichever yoga poses are included in your routine at the moment, these poses can undoubtedly improve your balance in so many ways.
That said, below are some tips that you can apply to help you achieve the standing poses, especially those poses that require one leg to stand.
First is, you should choose a point to concentrate on. For example, you can choose a point from two to three meters before you that is not moving. With that, you can find something to concentrate on while balancing, helping you to do the pose successfully.
If you’re doing a one-legged pose, make sure to ground that leg properly. Whenever you stand on one leg, it’s easier to sink into the hip. All you need to do is push through the standing leg to extend your height more, exercising your leg muscles in the process.
Since the core plays a crucial role in stabilizing and connecting the lower body to the upper body, it’s essential to engage through it. Keeping the core engaged helps you handle the rest of your body and gives you a greater chance of balancing longer.
As much as possible, try to spread your toes apart. This way, it can give you a larger space to support you in controlling your balance. It’s normal to fall at times. So don’t give up and try again. This time, go back into the pose nice and slowly.
The question now is: How long should I keep each yoga standing yoga pose? Actually, there is no definite time to hold each pose, but the longer you can balance, the more benefits you will get.
For example, you can begin with just ten seconds and then increase your time for another ten seconds or a minute or so. If you struggle to achieve that, no problem. Stop rushing because even if you progress a second or two, progress is progress, so learn to celebrate that.
Props That Can Support
When you first practice these standing poses, or when you begin to learn new poses that you are yet to discover, there are various props that can support you. That said, read further to learn more.
Leaning against a wall or with the help of a chair can help you balance into your standing poses, and there’s no shame in it.
There are various yoga props that can support you in standing yoga poses to prevent you from falling and doing the poses more easily. If you are pregnant or have existing injuries, there are also props recommended for safety practice.
Yoga blocks can support you in doing standing poses that require your hands to reach the floor. Yoga blocks can help by bringing the floor a little bit closer to you without ruining your balance. Plus, these are very useful when you have wrist pains. So anytime you want to make the floor closer to you, yoga blocks will automatically be your go-to prop.
For example, in a vinyasa practice, yoga blocks will come in handy because of the many poses or transitions included in the routine. Yoga blocks don’t cost too much, so having these for your yoga practice can significantly improve your performance during your training.
Another valuable prop when doing standing poses – suitable for all levels – is the yoga straps. These props can greatly support your balance for standing poses that are impossible to do. Yoga straps are ideal for making these balancing poses in yoga accessible even if you are new to yoga. So don’t forget to grab yours now.
Now that you already know the benefits, some tips, and props that can support you in your standing yoga poses journey, it’s time to learn the top 10 most popular standing poses!
Top Most Popular 10 Standing Yoga Poses
As mentioned earlier, standing poses are fit regardless of your mastery and acquire the same mind-body benefits. That said, below are the top 10 popular standing yoga poses that are a great addition to your yoga practice.
1. Awkward Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Start with utkatasana, better known as the awkward chair pose. Bend your legs at the knee, then concentrate on your hips and buttocks as you hold your toes pointed straight forward.
Gently squat down until your legs are almost touching the floor. Raise your arms slowly to avoid your shoulders from shrugging.
2. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose doesn’t require too much balance on one leg, but this pose is a good start if you’re new to balancing poses or balancing is something difficult for you.
Even though this yoga pose is quite common, most yogis find this the most complex and challenging yoga pose. But still, it is doable with proper preparation.
Stand while your feet hip-width aside, then put your arms to the sides with your palms facing inwards. From this point, close your eyes and try to decrease or increase the number of weight you are pressing on each foot.
3. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Tree pose is one of the most famous yoga poses for beginners that can helo anyone’s balance to improve significantly. From a mountain pose, draw all your weight into the foot, preferably the left one.
At this point, draw the sole of your right foot toward your inner calf or upper leg and never the knee.
After this, make a prayer position. If your standing leg feels pain in the knee, draw the right toes down to touch the floor nicely by bringing the heel of the right foot with the left foot or the ankle.
4. Warrior III Pose (Virabhadrasana III)
To do the virabhadrasana III, make sure you came from either the tree pose or the mountain pose. Gently hinge at the hips to bring your torso onto the floor, starting with your chest, as you draw your right leg up straight behind you.
You can keep the prayer position, hands at the heart, or simply bring them along your sides. If your core is feeling uncomfortable, you can reach your hands before you. Remember that this process will add a new level in executing and balancing the Warrior III pose.
5. Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
This pose is one of the most striking poses on this list. It looks really cool while it makes you feel empowered at the same time. Plus, it works on your balance and strength too.
From the mountain pose, draw your right knee to your left while you sit backward. Make sure you are crossing your legs as if you are sitting on an invisible chair. From this point, you can bring your foot behind your left calf and keep it attached to the side of your left leg.
Draw your arms before you and cross your left elbow together with your right elbow. Stretch your elbows and allow the back of your hands to touch. Or cover your forearms around until both of your palms join. Make sure to keep your elbows parallel with your shoulders and forearms align to your face.
6. Lord of the Dance Pose (Natarajasana)
Natarajasana is one of the most good-looking standing yoga poses as it looks incredibly elegant and exquisite. This pose is also good to channel the power of your balance.
Again from the mountain pose, bend your right knee as if you are trying to join your rear end with your heel. Touch your right hand from behind and hold onto your right foot.
As soon as you feel comfortable in the pose, try to kick your foot towards your hand as you bend your torso nicely forward. From here, reach your left arm straight before you.
7. Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
This pose helps to build strength, improve balance, and offer you a nice stretch at the same time.
From the Virabhadrasana III, while standing on the left leg, gently reach your left hand down to the ground or to a yoga block (if you are using it). Allow your torso to open to the left while stretching your right hand up to the sky.
From this point, you can look either to the floor or towards the ceiling. Then little by little, focus your sight on one point and balance.
8. Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)
The Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana can help stretch your overall body while improving your balance in the process. From the tree pose, while standing on the left foot, bring your right foot with your right hand and draw the right foot out to the side.
Hold your right knee as straight as you can, but whenever you feel pain behind the knee or at the uppermost of your hamstring muscles, feel free to release a little bit of pressure to hold the pose longer.
9. Standing Splits Pose (Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana)
The Standing Splits pose is one of the most challenging poses mentioned in this list. Although popular, this pose can only be done by yogis practicing yoga for some time.
This is because the pose will depend on how near you can place your hands to your foot or how high you can raise your other leg.
From a standing position, gently twist your hips while reaching your hands to the floor. At the same time, raise your right leg behind you, holding your hips parallel towards the floor.
10. Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)
Finally, the last standing pose on the list is uttanasana, better known as the forward bend pose. Bring your left foot down to the floor, make sure that it is close to your right foot. Bend your legs and take a break. Whenever you feel comfortable, repeat this process but this time, use your left leg to stand.
Like the ones mentioned above, doing specific standing yoga poses can become very helpful for refining your stability, balance, power, and flexibility for particular muscle groups.
Some poses may also help relieve leg pain caused by standing for an extended time. If you’re new to yoga, it’s best to start slowly. Consider yourself a yoga instructor to ensure proper execution and for better practice. Namaste.