5 Standing Yoga Postures (That Every Beginner Should Know)
There are many different standing yoga postures in yoga that you'll come across but they all have the same principles of using your feet as your foundation.
We’ll explore five of the most common standing yoga poses with their names and how to approach them. Once you start to practice and understand the foundations of these five standing yoga positions you'll also be able to start applying this technique to the other standing poses.
Particularly when you’re practicing these standing yoga postures as a beginner for the first time it will be helpful if you start by focusing on the positioning of your feet and then slowly bringing your attention upwards to your legs, hips, shoulders, and upper body.
If you've got the chance to warm up with a few Sun Salutations before you practice this standing yoga sequence for beginners that's fantastic. If you’re short on time, you can start immediately with these standing poses but just ease yourself slowly into the postures until you’ve warmed up.
Want to jump right into practicing these five standing poses? Follow along with my YouTube video on the top five standing yoga poses.
(1) Chair Pose | Utkatasana
The first standing yoga pose we're going to do is the Chair Pose, Utkatasana. It's relatively simple in terms of the alignment and technique.
Start with your feet either together or slightly apart—whichever feels most comfortable. Draw your weight a little bit to the heels while still keeping your toes heavy. From here you can start to drop your hips down and back, and reach your arms forward and up.
See if you can really engage through the front of the thighs and actively draw them in towards each other. At the same time you're allowing the belly to be firm and the upper body to lean a little forward. Great!
Staying here for five breaths. So keep breathing in and out through your nose. And see if you can keep extending your arms up while sinking your shoulders down. And then on an inhale, you can slowly extend the legs and come out of the pose.
(2) Standing Forward Fold | Uttanasana
The next posture we're going to do is a really nice counter pose, the Standing Forward Fold, Uttanasana. Feet can be hip distance apart and then you can start to fold forward from your hips.
To begin with it might feel that your hamstrings are a little tight. So you can experiment with bending the knees a little so that you are at about 60-70 % of your maximum.
You could have your hands holding the opposite elbows or hands could be on your legs—up to you here. Seeing if you can relax your shoulders and neck. Letting your head hang, shoulders and neck are relaxed.
See if you can slow down your inhale and slow down your exhale as you stay here for around five breaths. Then you can slowly use your inhale to bend your knees a little more and roll up to standing again.
(3) Warrior 1 Pose | Virabhadrasana 1
We're now going to move to the Warrior 1 Pose, Virabhadrasana 1. You can start at the front of your mat and then take a big step back with your left foot. Like with all of these standing poses our feet are the foundation.
If it feels quite intense having a long step between your feet, you can simply have the feet a little closer. The other thing you can just check is with your positioning of your two feet. You want to avoid the feet being crossed since that will make the posture a bit more wobbly. So you can either be heel to heel or a little wider.
Our hips want to face the front. So the more that your left foot spins out, the more you'll notice the left hip also turns out to the left side. Therefore, to help give you the space to bring the hips forward, you can bring your left foot a little in.
From here you can start to twist, particularly twisting the left side of your torso towards the front of your mat. Great!
Now the next step is to bend your right knee. If the right knee comes really far forward—over your right foot—it's usually an indication that you have enough space in your hips to step your feet a little further away from each other.
Now both your legs are doing opposite things here which makes it a little challenging. . See if you can keep pressing the outside of your left foot into the mat. As you also at the same time bring your right knee a little forward. With the arms, we're reaching the arms up. Like in the Chair Pose, shoulders drop down, and arms lengthen nice and high.
Staying here for five breaths. Then you can exhale, slowly release and repeat on the other side.
(4) Side Angle Pose | Utthita Parsvakonasana
Now we're coming to the fourth standing position, the Side Angle Pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana. You can start at the front of the mat and take a big step back with your left foot.
This time your hips want to face the long side of the mat. So you can do that by just spinning your left foot a little bit more out to the left. Maybe thinking 90 degrees with that left foot.
From here starting to bend into your right knee. Again if the knee bends really far, two things to watch for. First one, what's happening with your left hip? The left hip draws back as the right knee comes forward. So we don't want that left leg to collapse down. Yeah!
The second thing to watch here is are your feet the right distance apart? This will vary from person to person. Depending on the length of your legs and flexibility in your hips.
Arms are coming out to the side. Then we're going to bring our right arm down and at the same time lift up through the right shoulder. Your left arm can reach up towards the ceiling and your chin stays tucked. You can look sideways or slightly up here. Great!
See if you can keep balancing your right knee coming forward with your left hip drawing back. Staying here for five breaths. And then inhaling you can come up and move to the other side.
(5) Triangle Pose | Utthita Trikonasana
We’re now moving to the final pose, Triangle Pose or Utthita Trikonasana. Again you can take a big step back with your left foot and set up the same positioning with your feet as in the Side Angle Pose.
So your right foot is facing forward and your left foot is open to about 90 degrees or a bit more in towards the right. This time you can keep both legs straight and bring your arms out to the side.
Now your left hand can come to your left hip to help you draw your left hip back towards the back of your mat. So when I say back I mean away from your right foot. You can reach your right arm forward and lengthen through the left side of your torso.
From here you can drop your right arm down towards your right knee or shin. Allowing your right arm to hover and on your next inhale lift up through your left arm. Yeah!
We want the shoulders to stack. So if that means being a little higher, so that you've got the space for the shoulders to stack that's absolutely fine. In fact, it's preferred to twisting forward.
We are working on lengthening both legs. But if your right hamstring feels tight or have knee pain you can slightly bend you right knee. Staying here for five breaths. And then inhale as you come out of the posture and move to the opposite side.
Take Rest in Savasana
You can find a comfortable position on your back and close your eyes. Staying here for several minutes to take rest and find some relaxation.
Tips for Practice
I hope these five yoga postures are helpful to learn a little bit more about the fundamentals of standing yoga poses. This makes a really nice short practice to do in the morning to feel more energized.
I would suggest trying this a few times with guidance and a few times on your own to help to learn and refine this practice of standing yoga postures.
And like I said at the beginning a lot of the principles we’ve explored in these standing yoga positions can also be applied to many other yoga poses.
So once you’ve tried this practice out you could also explore other standing yoga sequences.
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