Three Essential Standing Poses for Home Yoga Practice

Now I would never suggest trying a new yoga pose without having learned from a qualified yoga teacher first, because sometimes it can hurt more than help if you are moving the wrong way! That being said, here is a brief guide to three easy yoga poses you can do at home:

Yoga Pose – Tadasana or Mountain Pose

Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is a standing pose that improves your posture, relieves back pain, and strengthens your thighs. Now, usually you should start with your big toes touching each other but your heels a bit apart. If you are having difficulty with that at first, you can try it with the inside of your feet about 3 inches apart. Fan out your toes to give yourself a solid balance.

Sway gently front to back and side to side on your feet until you feel your weight evenly balanced between toes and heels.

Try to imagine your feet and calves are roots growing into the floor and then engage your thigh muscles.  Stretch your upper thighs slightly inward and upward and you feel yourself lengthening gently.

Draw in your belly but do not tighten it.  You can aid this by extending your tailbones down towards your heels.

Press your shoulder blades into your back, and widen your collarbone as your arms hang beside your torso, extend your fingertips down with energy.  Your neck should be long and the crown of your head should be directly under the ceiling and over your pelvis.  Remain in the pose for thirty seconds to a full minute.

This pose is usually a starting point for other standing poses, but is very helpful in itself to relax and improve posture.  If you are having trouble, try doing it with your back to a wall at first, and use the ocean breathing method I mentioned in the previous post.

Yoga Pose 2 – Vrksasana or Tree Pose

Tree Pose, also known as Vrksasana, is another standing pose that improves balance and strengthens your thighs as well as improving your calves and stretching the chest and shoulders. It also helps develop powers of concentration and overall poise.

First, stand in Mountain Pose until your legs feel completely balanced. Pick something directly in front of you upon which to focus your gaze for entire duration of the pose.

Gently shift your weight onto your left foot, but make sure the entire foot remains firmly rooted to the floor.  Slowly reach down and grasp your right food in your right hand.  Guide the sole of your right foot to your inner thigh.  If this is too much take the foot to the lower leg or even rest the heel onto the opposite foot.

Toes should be pointing towards the floor and your pelvis should be directly over your left foot.

Lengthen your tailbone and feel it stretching towards the floor. Put your hands together in a prayer position directly in front of your chest, with shoulders broad.

Stay in this position for thirty seconds to a minute. If it is uncomfortable to have your foot up so high, leave it at your left ankle or calf. Balance is the more important part of this pose. Return to Mountain Pose, then repeat Tree Pose again on the other leg.

Yoga Pose 2 – Virabhadrasana I or Warrior I Pose

There are actually three Warrior (Virabhadrasana) poses, often done in a sequence. However, Warrior I is a great strengthening pose all on its own.  Indeed, it engages your chest, shoulders, arms, back muscles, thighs, and calves, increasing not only strength but flexibility as well.

Again, begin in Mountain Pose. On an exhale, step the right foot forward about three feet. Turn your left foot in about 45 degrees.  You make sure your hips are as square as possible by pushing the left hip forward.  This part can be difficult at first, and many beginners tend to bend their pelvis forward.  It may help to lengthen your tailbone to the floor and arch the top of your torso.

Raise your arms so that they are parallel to each other but perpendicular to the ground. Reach with all your fingers towards the ceiling.  Allow your shoulders to soften away from the ears and keep the shoulders broad.  You may want to bring the palms together.  As you breathe out bend your right knee over your right ankle, keeping the shin perpendicular to the floor. As your flexibility increases, you may also be able to keep your right thigh perpendicular to the floor.

Reach through your arms and lift the rib cage away from the pelvis. You can feel a line of energy running from the back leg across your abdomen and chest and ending in your arms.  Keep your head in a neutral position, looking straight ahead.

Remain in this position for thirty seconds, then move your legs back together on an inhale.

I hope this guide helps for your home yoga practice.  Feel free to ask any questions about these important standing poses!