Standing poses teach you about bringing together the difference aspects of your posture, your body, your mind and your breath. They encourage you to seek a sense of wholeness, a place where no single element ot the posture becomes your only focus. Standing poses are challenging yet you should still be able to breathe with ease and work your muscles evenly.
Balancing postures teach you to find your center. When you are in standing poses, your body moves in and out of center. In response, you make a variety of movements to align your body and bring it back into a place of balance. Balancing poses require you to draw into your core muscles and also your inner awareness.
Rodney Yee teaches, “Practicing the standing poses is like taking a walk in the brisk winter air after being cooped up all day. The poses invigorate your entire body, which brings ease to your mind.”
Since I have been practicing Half Moon for the past week or so, I wanted to create a mini sequence that worked up to this posture. In this little series, we move into Ardha Chandrasana from Triangle (thanks for the suggestion @YogaSweetie!) When practicing the sequence below, rather than going as deeply as possible into each pose, look for a place where you find the most integration. You will still feel challenged, but perhaps you will also discover the power hidden in those few moments of quiet stillness.
Standing Balance Flow – A Mini Sequence
Take 3 to 5 breaths in each pose, first on one side then the other. After you have finished, try one full sequence where you move in and out of each pose with your breath. Use your gaze (drishti) to remain steady in all the poses, particularly the balancing postures.
1. Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana)
Ground through the standing foot. Kick back and up through the upper leg, pressing into your hand. Relax and find a point of focus.
2. Tree (Vrksasana)
Start with hands at the heart in prayer position. Once you feel steady, open the arms up and reach towards the ceiling. Don’t let yourself become rigid. Follow the subtle shifts in your body to find balance.
3. Intense Hamstring (Parsvottanasana)
Use blocks for your hands if you have tight hamstrings. Elongate then fold at the hips being mindful of the lower back.
4. Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana)
Open the hips and chest, press through the feet and reach with the upper arm. Feel expansive!
5. Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)
Feel free to use a block or the wall in Half Moon (more tips on that here). Trust your body. If you fall, set up the pose, re-set your thoughts and give it another shot.
What about you – any favorite standing poses? Which ones energize you?