Yoga Standing Poses: Energize, Stretch and Strengthen Your Body
This article focuses on poses done from a standing position. We humans spend a major part of our waking hours standing, sitting and walking around. Hence the spine and neck muscles have to work hard to balance the head. The leg muscles support the whole body weight when we stand up and hence we have to keep them in a good condition. Doing regular standing yoga asanas or poses is beneficial to overall well-being.
The dynamic standing yoga poses energize, stretch, and strengthen the body as well as increase your focus and concentration.
The standing yoga poses include movements such as:
- upright standing poses
- forward bends
- back bends
- balancing poses
Standing yoga poses are usually used for warm-up, preparation, compensation or as a main posture. As a warm up it is a good idea to use standing poses when the next part of the routine is also performed from a standing position.
Preparation for Standing Yoga Poses
There are some important points to remember when doing standing yoga poses:
Upright Standing Poses:
- always warm up before every yoga session
- make sure your body is aligned and your spine is comfortably extended.
- Allow the skeletal system to support the body
- when standing upright sense that your ears are over your shoulders, shoulders positioned over your hips, hips over ankles.
- Stand as though you have grown an inch
- pull your shoulders back slightly, down and away from your ears
- splay your toes and press them into the floor.
- soften your knees if your muscles feel tight
- tuck your chin slightly towards your chest
- when coming back up, roll your body up slowly, keeping your knees soft and chin slightly lifted so that your head comes up last.
- if balancing poses present a challenge, hold onto a wall or back of a chair.
- Gaze at a spot in front of you and breathe deeply
- with practice your balance will improve
Benefits of Yoga Standing Poses
The different standing yoga asanas have many benefits. There are many types of standing poses and it beyond the scope of this article to deal with all of them in detail. A good book on practicing yoga is a good resource or it is a good idea to join a yoga class. However, it is important to know how each of these yoga poses can benefit you if practiced regularly.
See table below to find out some of the yoga poses and their benefits:
Standing Yoga Poses
Mountain Pose or Tadasana
Corrects posture problems, restores a natural state of balance to the body and mind.
Half Moon or Ardha Chandrasana
trims and tones the waistline, stretches the arms, aligns the spine
Triangle or Trikonasana
Improves flexibility of torso, elongates and straightens the spine, opens the hip area and strengthens the arms, legs, ankles and feet.
Warrior Pose I and II or Virabhadhrasana I and II
Improves balance, increases concentration and will power
Dancer's Pose or Natarajasana
Strengthens and tones the leg muscles and tightens the muscles of upper arms, hips and buttocks; enhances concentration and balance.
Tree Pose or Vrikshasana
Improves posture, helps stabilize the pelvis, elongate the spine, strengthens legs and ankles, increase flexibility of inner thigh muscles, balance and centering
Eagle Pose or Garudasana
Increases concentration, firms upper arms, stretches the shoulders, opens the hips and strengthens the thighs, calves, and knee and ankle joints; works on abdominal muscles and brings fresh blood supply to sexual organs and kidneys.
Chair Pose or Utkatasana
Increases body temperature and energy level, strengthens thighs, calf muscles, ankles and Achilles tendons; improves balance
Forward Bend or Uttanasana
Stretches the entire spine, relaxes the back, loosens any stiffness in arms, shoulders, and neck; reduces fatigue and tension
Half Forward Bend or Ardha Uttanasana
Lengthens and aligns the spine, reduces lower back pain, stretches back of legs and hamstring muscles.
Backbend or Pratyak Uttana
Strengthens lower back, increases flexibility of the spine, opens the chest and expands lung capacity.
Standing Yoga Poses for Specific Benefits
The standing yoga asanas are probably the most diverse of all the groups. Others groups being seated poses, kneeling poses, supine poses and inverted poses to name a few. Standing poses combined with other groups can be done to benefit specific areas or groups of muscles of the body.
Mountain Pose or Tadasana
This is the most basic yoga standing pose and is the beginning pose of many of the standing poses. It is important to master this pose before going on to other more advanced poses.
Half Forward Bend or Ardha Uttanasana Yoga Pose
This pose helps relieve tension in the neck and has many benefits. See table above.
Standing Yoga Poses Sequence: Home Practice
- Yoga Poses for Hips
The hips and buttocks bear the weight or the human body and determine its balance. It is important to strengthen and ensure good muscle tone for easy movement and flexibility in daily life. Learn about some of the yoga poses that can benefit the hip.
- Yoga Poses for the Spine
The spine is like the trunk of a tree, supporting the entire body structure. Taking care of it and maintaining its strength and flexibility is of primary importance. Find out some of the yoga poses that you can incorporate into your yoga practice.
- Yoga Poses for Legs
Our legs are the most important parts of the body. They support our body weight, help us walk, run, swim, stand and be active in our lives. Yoga is a great way to maintain muscle tone of the legs.
- How to Improve Flexibility of Tight Hamstrings with ...
Did you know that tight hamstrings can cause many injuries, poor posture, inhibit movement, and back pain? Learn how to loosen your hamstrings with yoga and improve performance in sports and daily life.
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