Standing yoga poses can be used in a variety of different ways.
Rather than saying "This Pose Does This", the idea is that you can have a particular intent and then do the poses in such a way as to suit that intent.
Below are 8 possible ways (intents or purposes) that you can deliberately use standing yoga poses.
Standing poses are a great way to practice feeling your center of gravity.
So that you can learn to feel your center of gravity, try moving it.
Then notice the changes in pressure in your feet as you shift your weight.
Standing poses can be used to strengthen your feet and improve foot control.
While foot exercises can be done while sitting, standing foot exercises allow you to use your feet against the weight of your body.
When lifting part of the foot as in the standing poses below, notice how the part of your foot that isn't lifted feels.
Two basic exercises you can practice are lifting your heels and lifting your forefeet.
Change isn't a bad thing. The idea of learning to feel your body and control it is so that you can create desired changes while preventing undesired changes.
Work at keeping your pelvis and ribcage still while lifting your hands and then touching them back to the floor in the poses below.
Repeat the hand lifts a few times in each pose.
If you've got tight or inflexible hamstrings, standing poses can be used to both stretch them and strengthen them.
With standing hamstring stretches you can use your arms to support the weight of your upper body so that your hamstrings can relax.
So that you can feel your hamstrings activate, try lifting your hands without allowing your body to move.
Then after you put your hands down, notice your hamstrings relax and as they relax you can try sinking your upper body by allowing your elbows to bend.
Standing poses can also be used to practice unweighted shoulder awareness and shoulder control.
You can also use standing poses to practice understanding balance
You can use standing poses for full body twisting and side bending.
The standing twist and standing spinal side bend, below, work on both the spine and the hips!
But you can also use them for spinal front bends and spinal back bends (which also can affect the hips. Speaking of which...)
One other use for standing poses that I'll mention here, particularly if you can stabilize your hips, is that they can be used to reactivate your hips after deep hip stretches. If your hips feel loose or "fragile" after lots of deep stretching, try reactivating them with half moon, triangle twist or even a sumo squat.
In all of these standing yoga poses, don't just rely on the shape of the pose to stabilize your hips. Consciously activate your hip muscles to work at stabilizing your hip joints.
To keep your hip joints lubricated and longer lasting, it can help to learn how to adjust your hips when doing standing yoga poses.
Read more about Basic Hip Adjustments for Standing Yoga Poses.