8 Standing Yoga Poses for Balance and Strength


For example, poses like the chair, warrior pose, and crescent lunge are ideal for building lower-body muscle strength, says Chen. The chair poses really hits your glutes and quads, while the crescent lunge targets your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. “The crescent lunge incorporates a little bit of balance because you need to use your inner thighs to help stabilize you,” she says. “By leaning your hips toward the front of the room, you’re opening up through your hip flexors.” Your core also fires, helping keep your torso upright and keeping your body stable. Building core strength is important because it can help prevent and even relieve low back pain.

Warrior pose is also great for building lower body strength. In Warrior I, you’ll work your quads and hamstrings, while Warrior II will activate your glutes and thighs, says Mosley.

Then there are standing yoga poses that, in addition to building strength, can really hone your balance, such as Airplane, Warrior III, Eagle, Tree, and Dancer poses. Standing balance poses are usually done with one foot on the ground, so all your weight is on one leg. This forces you to recruit your core and ankle muscles so you don’t fall over.

“These help you build ankle strength because you’re one foot, which is great for runners,” Chen says. “They also require core and lower body strength, and they open up your hips, hamstrings, and shoulders, depending on the pose you’re doing.

In terms of flexibility, standing poses like the front tuck focus on lengthening and stretching tight hamstrings, so they may aid post-workout recovery and relieve tightness.

What is the difference between standing and sitting?

Well, of course, besides the fact that standing poses happen on your feet while sitting or lying on the mat, the main difference between standing and seated yoga poses is that standing poses work more of your lower body muscles and recruit your core to support. This is because your core helps keep your torso upright and prevents you from flipping and falling completely.

The amount of time you can hold each pose also varies, which affects the reward you get from each pose.

“The sitting position, because you can hold it longer than a standing position, allows for deeper twists, more lengthening and flexibility,” says Chen. “Think about how long you can hold the [standing] prayer twist versus the seated twist.

Because you can remain seated for long periods of time, they also tend to provide more relaxation and allow you to reconnect with your breath. “Oftentimes, a class may begin or end with a seated yoga pose to find connection and grounding, and to create space in the body by stretching each side,” says Dr. “Standing poses like in the Warrior series often feel more active—both harnessing and building strength.”

What should beginners know about standing yoga?

Standing poses are the foundation of yoga and one of the best ways to start practicing regularly. Beginners should focus on poses that have a grounding element — meaning poses where you connect your feet to the ground and your breath to your body. Mountain pose, in particular, is the foundation for many other standing poses and can help you become more comfortable with the stability and grounding you need in it.

As you progress and get stronger, Chen also recommends a tree pose as a beginner balancing yoga pose. Depending on where you are in the practice, your free foot can be on your ankle, calf, or inner thigh — as long as it avoids your knee — or even on the ground, she says.

Don’t be afraid to modify the poses based on your fitness level, says Chen. Progress at a pace that suits you, and choose variations or modifications that feel most supported and challenging. This helps take the stress out of trying to do poses that don’t currently work for you. Once you get comfortable, you can gradually add more elements to the pose.

Props are recommended, such as yoga blocks, which provide support and help in getting into standing poses, especially balance poses. “These enhance your practice and provide support for acquiring posture, allowing you to focus on specific areas,”

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