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  • 8 Reasons to do Standing Yoga Poses

    Neil Keleher
    2018 Mar 30

    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.

    Eagle yoga pose. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Don't Know Where Your Center is? Standing Poses Can Help

    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 forward bend, hips shifted rearwards, weight over heels. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing forward bend, hips shifted forwards, weight on hands and feet. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Half moon standing yoga pose, weight over foot with hand on floor. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Half Moon standing yoga pose, weight shifted towards hand so that hand and foot both bear weight. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Improve Foot Control

    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.

    • Forward bend with heel/forefoot lift
    • Half moon with heel/forefoot lift.
    Standing forward bend with hands on floor, hips over heels with forefoot lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing forward bend with hands on floor, hips over heels and heels lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Half Moon standing yoga balance pose, heel lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Half moon standing yoga balance pose, hand on floor and  forefoot lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Become More Resistant to Change

    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.

    Standing forward bend with hips over heels and with hands on the floor. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing forward bend with hips over heels and with hands lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing forward bend with one leg lifted, hip over standing foot, hands on floor. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing forward bend with one leg lifted, hip over standing foot, hands lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Pyramid standing yoga pose with hands on the edge of a chair. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Pyramid standing yoga pose with hands lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    • Half Moon
    • Triangle Pose
    • Side Angle
    Half moon standing balance pose with hip over heel and hand on the floor. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Half moon standing balance pose with hip over heel and hand lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Triangle standing yoga pose with bottom hand on shin. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Triangle standing yoga pose with bottom hand lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Side angle standing yoga pose with forearm resting on thigh. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Side angle standig yoga pose with forearm lifted off of thigh. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Got Tight Hamstrings? Standing Yoga Poses Can Help

    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 Forward bend,
    • Front Triangle,
    • Triangle
    Standing forward bend with hands lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing forward bend with hands on chair and arms bearing weight of upper body. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing forward bend with hands onchair supporting weight of upper body, hamstrings relaxed, elbows bend so that ribcage sinks down. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Pyramid standing hamstring stretch with hands lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Pyramid standing hamdstring stretch with hands on chair. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Pyramid standing forward bend with hands supporting body weight, hamstrings relaxed and being stretched. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Triangle standing yoga pose with bottom hand lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Triangle standing yoga pose with bottom hand on chair Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Triangle standing yoga pose with hand supporting body weight so hamstrings can relax and stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Use Standing Poses to Train Your Shoulders

    Standing poses can also be used to practice unweighted shoulder awareness and shoulder control.

    • Mountain, (depress and elevate shoulders)
    • Balancing On One Foot (protract and retract shoulder blades)
    • Pyramid Pose (retract)
    Mountain pose with shoulders depressed (pulled down). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Mountain pose with shoulders elevated (lifted). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing on one leg, shoulder blades protracted (spread outwards). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing on one leg, shoulder blades retracted (pulled towards each other). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Pyramid standing yoga pose with arms hanging down, shoulders relaxed. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Pyramid standing yoga pose with arms hanging down, shoulder blades retracted (pulled towards each other). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    • Warrior 1 (elevate shoulders with arms lifted)
    • Warrior 2 (retract and protract shoulder blades)
    • Wide Leg Forward Bend (retract shoulder blades)
    Warrior 1 standing yoga pose with hands apart, shoulders relatively relaxed. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Warrior 1 standing yoga pose with hands apart and shoulders lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Warrior 2 standing yoga pose with shoulder blades retracted (pulled towards each other). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Warrior 2 standing yoga pose with shoulder blades protracted (spread apart). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Wide leg standing forward bending yoga pose with arms back and shoulders relatively relaxed. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Wide leg standing forward bending yoga pose with arms back and shoulder blades retracted (pulled towards each other). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Practice (and Understand) Balance

    You can also use standing poses to practice understanding balance

    Standing yoga pose balance practice, standing with feet hip width apart and heels lifted. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing yoga balance practice, feet hip width apart with forefeet lifted (balancing on heels). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Warrior 3 standing balance pose with arms reaching back, hip over heel. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Warrior 3 standing balance pose with arms reaching forwards, hip behind heel. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Tree standing yoga pose. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    • Eagle
    • Quad Stretch
    • Dancing Bow
    • Dancing Bow Variation
    Eagle standing yoga pose. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Quad stretch standing balance pose. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Bow pose standing yoga pose, upright. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Bow pose standing yoga pose with hand on floor. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Standing Poses are Great for Practicing Basic Spine Movements

    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!

    • Standing twist (spine and hips)
    • Lunging (side angle) twist,
    • Standing spinal side bend (spine and hips)
    • Spinal Side Bend with Arm Reach
    Standing twist with pelvis and ribcage turned to side. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Twisting side angle pose with hand on floor. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing side bend with hips pressed to side. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Standing side bend with hips pressed to side and top arm reaching past head. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    But you can also use them for spinal front bends and spinal back bends (which also can affect the hips. Speaking of which...)

    Consciously Stabilize/Reactivate your Hip Joints

    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.

    • Triangle twist
    • Sumo Squat
    Triangle twist standign yoga pose (or reverse triangle) with bottom hand on the floor. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Sumo squat standing exercise. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    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.