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Yoga: Standing Postures - Part 1

Yoga: Standing Postures - Part 1

Yoga standing postures promote flexibility, strength and balance just to name a few of the benefits. Watch part 1 of our 3 films explaining the techniques for standing postures in yoga.

Step 1: You will need

  • Comfortable clothing
  • yoga mat available from most sports shops…
  • yoga belt (which is optional)
  • bare feet

Step 2: Mountain pose

This posture forms the basis of most standing postures in yoga. Let's start by standing upright and by bringing your feet and legs together. Your toes, ankles and heels should be touching. Now spread your toes and allow your weight to be evenly distributed over your feet and root your heels into the floor. Lift your kneecaps and the knees up and press the front of your thighs back. Then roll your shoulders back and down and press your shoulder blades into the body and lift your chest. Extend your arms all the way to your finger tips. Hold for approximately five inhalations and exhalations. Once you are familiar with the Mountain pose move on to the variation.

Step 3: Upward hand pose in Mountain pose

Continuing in Mountain pose, extend your arms forward to shoulder height and continue up above your head. Your palms should be parallel and facing one another. Your arms should be in line with your ears, if you can. Make sure you extend well through your arms, elbows, wrists and fingers. Once again hold for approximately five breaths and then return back to mountain pose. Once you are familiar with the Mountain pose move on to another variation of it.

Step 4: Upward bound fingers pose in Mountain pose

Still standing in Mountain pose, interlock your fingers, turning your palms away from you whilst raising your arms up to shoulder height, making sure your elbows are straight. Keep your shoulders rolled back and shoulder blades tucked inwards, and your spine is tall and straight. Inhale and extend your arms above your head towards the ceiling and keep your arms in line with your ears. Your palms should be spread wide and facing up towards the ceiling. Hold for five breaths, keeping your face relaxed. Then, return to mountain pose.

Step 5: Cow face pose in Mountain pose

Standing in Mountain pose, inhale and raise your right arm above your head. Extend through your wrists and fingers, then bend at your elbow and bring your hand to your middle upper back between your shoulder blades. Your fingers should be facing towards the floor. Now, lower and extend your left arm along side your body, fingers pointed towards the floor, then bend your arm bringing the left hand up along your spine to clasp the right hand. If possible, join all your fingers together. Make sure your head and neck are straight and your gaze is straight ahead.

If you're unable to join your hands you can use a belt prop to bridge the gap between your hands. This pose is wonderful for opening stiff shoulders. Hold this posture for five breaths and then change over on to the other arm.

Step 6: The chair pose

Stand in Mountain pose and place your hands on your hips. Now bend your knees and lower your buttocks towards the floor as deep as you can while your heels remain firmly grounded on the floor. Keep your toes, ankles and heels together and lift the inner arches of your feet. Keep your trunk upright and your chest open and lifted. Raise your arms up above your head and towards the ceiling in upward hands pose. Make sure your belly is lifted and tuck your tailbone under. If you have stiff shoulders, and you can't raise your arms along your ears, lift your arms slightly in front of you. Hold this position once again for five breaths. This posture is great for building strength in your legs. To bring more awareness to your arms you can start this movement by extending your arms first and then lowering your buttocks.

Remember that in yoga we breathe in and out of the nose smoothly and calmly. When in standing postures, remember to keep your feet rooted well. If you feel any discomfort or pain you should come out of the pose you are in. And always remember to practise with effort effortlessly.