Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Practice Yoga Standing Poses?

If you've taken Iyengar Yoga classes for any length of time, you'll have noticed that there's a strong emphasis on learning and practicing the standing poses, often from the very first class you took. 

Why are the yoga standing poses so important?  What are their benefits to us?

Some of the more obvious benefits are that we develop develop greater strength, stamina, flexibility, and balance from practicing these poses.  

As beginners, we practice the standing poses to learn to become more aware of all parts of our own bodies.   We become more familiar with how to position different parts of our bodies -- our legs, arms, hands, feet, trunk, and head.   We learn basic elements of alignment in these poses.

As we become more proficient in the standing poses, we start to refine them.   We become more aware of how the smaller muscles need to be used to bring our poses into better alignment.  We learn to more fully turn our awareness inward to bring a steadiness of body and mind to the poses.

The yoga standing poses form the foundation for the rest of the yoga poses. 

Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher, John Schumacher, has a number of YouTube videos in which he demonstrates and instructs basic yoga poses, including a number of the standing poses.  His instructions are clear, and his poses are superb!   They're well worth watching!

To watch these videos and to read more about the benefits of yoga standing poses, go to Seven Basic Standing Poses.

For more ideas how to practice on your own, go to The Importance of a Yoga Home Practice.

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