A look at standing poses in yoga

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Yoga Blog

Standing poses are usually practised after sun salutations. They warm up the body for more complicated postures and they generate heat as well as building up energy.

Physiologically, standing poses strengthen the feet, leg muscles and joints as well as the abdominal muscles. In addition, they stimulate blood flow, increase breathing space in addition to breathing volume.

Emotionally, standing postures promote a sense of stability, feeling grounded, stamina, staying power, self-awareness and inner security.

Standing postures are often combined with forward bends, twists and balancing postures.

An example of a standing pose in yoga is Warrior 2.  This is a pose of strength and stamina. Gentler than Warrior 1, Warrior 2 requires slightly less hip mobility and flexibility.


  • Strengthens the legs, arms, back, ankles and knees
  • Stretches the groin, chest and shoulders
  • It opens the hips and chest as well as increases breathing volume
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Relieves backaches, especially through the second trimester of pregnancy
  • Increases stamina
  • Assists with carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis as well as sciatica


  • Stand in Tadasana
  • Exhale and then step or lightly jump your feet between 1 and 1.3m apart. Bring your arms up to be parallel to the floor and stretch them out to the sides, shoulder blades wide and with the palms facing down.
  • Turn your right foot in somewhat to the right. Turn your left foot out, to the left, at 90 degrees. Align the left heel with your right heel. Firm your thighs and then turn your left thigh outward so that the centre of the left kneecap is in a line with the centre of your left ankle.
  • Exhale and bend your left knee in line with our left ankle so that the shin is perpendicular to the mat. If it is possible bring your left thigh parallel to the floor. Anchor this movement of your left knee by strengthening the right leg and then pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.
  • Stretch your arm away from the space between the shoulder blades parallel to the floor. Keep the torso directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubis. Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.
  • Hold for between one and three minutes and breathe deeply.
  • Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat to the left.

For beginners, straighten the bent leg slightly it is too difficult to hold or place a chair under your thigh and rest it. As a variation when in full Warrior 2 pose turn your head to look over the opposite shoulder.

To increase the length and strength of the arms in this pose, advanced students should turn the palms and inner elbow creases to face the ceiling while you draw the shoulder blades down the back. Then maintaining the rotation of the arms turn the palms from the wrists to face the floor again.

Modify Warrior 2 if you suffer from high blood pressure and if you have neck problems. If you suffer from neck problems look straight ahead with both sides of the neck lengthened evenly.

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