Category Archives: standing poses

Do you understand how to stand?

I don’t have a  very strong home practice. I don’t always wake up with the discipline to start my day doing yoga.  This is something I vowed to change. I set my alarm clock (not my phone) and wanted do yoga before I checked any emails or calls.

I did a semi  interesting self imposed routine nothing that profound until… I realized I had been standing completely still for 5 maybe 10 minutes. And I realized I finally understand how to stand.

Mountain pose is my second favorite pose to teach. Why? Because it’s pretty much corpse pose (savasana) standing up! I also enjoy it because it’s very detailed . It also helps everyone everyday. I know with my students if I keep re emphasizing something as basic as standing- over time this will improve their quality of life . If we learn how to properly stand we can eliminate lower back pain, shallow breathing,  and anxiety while improving blood circulation and balance.

As I stood there truly still, light and balanced  I noticed how finely turned I had become in my own body. The detail of my foot work.  My weight was so perfectly distributed on the balls and heel of my feet. It was as if the ground had molded to me not the other way around. Climbing higher my  awareness of the bones ( knees subtly bent) in alignment all the way up to my hips, my front hip bones were ever so slightly tilted up allowing my back tailbone to drop down.  Every movement I am describing here is extremely subtle.

Often when standing  we allow the belly to hang.   I had to remind myself to pull the pelvic floor up and in, bring my belly button closer to my spin, direct my  inhale into the sides of my ribs and back.  This did not mean my shoulders raised. When we breathe our shoulders should release down the the back and draw away from the ears. Gently tilt the chin parallel with the earth.

The only way I could describe it was as if I was standing on top of my legs. As if my torso and been place on two divine pillars and I was simply existing above it.  Although I teach and practice yoga a lot it was certainly this experience in my home practice where I got to see the beautiful empire of my work beginning to take hold.  Your body is an instrument and needs conditioning to be so in tune. But I promise some days in yoga  you will feel true alignment with your body and mind and that is where the spirit shines.





Learning Basic Standing Poses

Before I go further into the breakdown of a practice let’s talk about poses. This week I would like to share with you basic standing positions and their benefits.

All standing poses help bring balance back into the body.

Tadasana- Standing mountain pose


This pose is basically standing savasana (you know the final laying down position everyone covets) focusing on the subtle alignment in this pose helps correct posture over time.

Ukatasana -Chair Pose


This pose is a lot harder than it looks. I often tell students to pretend they are sitting on the edge of a chair but still remind them to reach up to the sky like they’re trying to hold on to the sun. It is excellent for strengthening the back arms and legs. It also helps protect the lower back if you inhale the navel towards the back of the spine (not shown in this diagram.)



This is a standing forward fold. It is perfectly ok to have your knees slightly bent in the back. This helps lengthen and stretch tight hamstrings as well as reverse blood flow towards the head.

Ardha Uttanasana


It is the same position as Uttanasana except on the inhale we place our hands on the shins, open the chest as if we are offering our heart to the earth,  simultaneously  lengthening through the crown of the head creates more space in the spine.  As we exhale and lower into Uttanasana we can then surrender more deeply into the pose.

If you begin with these poses, you will have achieved 1/2 of Surya Namaskara. The sun salutations.