Skip to main content

Standing poses for strengthening your foundations

A basic standing pose sequence with the back foot to the wall.

Contents

Introduction

Video sequence description

This is a foundation sequence for those who are still at the early stages of their yoga learning looking to strengthen their core asanas. It is a complete sequence showing how to approach inversions and a selection of the basic standing poses. A good grounding sequence.

Step by step guide through the sequence

In this sequence, time allowing, you can set up in simple cross-leg or Supta Baddhakonasana over a bolster. Then come up and release into forward Virasana.

Now come to standing and bend forward into Uttanasana, hands to the shins or to the floor according to capacity. Remember not to strain or over push. Just find the stability and the foundation from your feet into your legs and hips to allow the spine to release.

Step back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dog Pose) to wake the arms up and lengthen through the spine. This prepares for full arm balance. Start by walking up the wall, elbows and knees straight and coming into a right angle. Repeat, or, if ready, go up into the full pose against the wall.

Now for the standing poses, today taking the back foot to the wall for greater stability and to allow for more correction and better alignment. Start with Trikonasana, keeping the knees straight and the arms well extended in the pose. Follow with Parsvakonasana, taking a block for the bottom hand if you can’t easily reach the floor.

Then Virabhadrasana 1, the back foot to the wall here helps to stay steady as you turn your hips to face into the centre of the room, before then reaching up with the arms to Urdhva Hastasana. Move to Virabhadrasana 2 using the wall here for the foot but also to reach with the back hand to bring the fingertips to the wall also. Check the alignment of the front knee. Uttanasana resting will allow the breath and face to quieten, and with the buttocks leaning against the wall the forward bend action comes more easily.

A few more standing poses follow. Ardha Chandrasana – step the back foot up to the wall at hip height, and place the bottom hand under the shoulder, on the floor or to a brick.
Parivrtta Trikonasana – another turning pose for the hips, and this time adding a twisting action, taking the bottom hand to the floor or onto a brick. Top hand up, or resting onto your hip.

Parsvottanasana, with the back foot to the wall, turn the hips and place the hands in Namaskar behind you, or holding the elbows if this is not yet possible.
And to finish, Prasarita Padottanasana, another standing forward bend, but just keeping the spine concave at this stage.

Virasana follows, to rest the legs, using a block or support under the buttocks as needed. And then add Parvatasana, the fingers interlocked and extending the arms up towards the ceiling.

Prepare for Sirsasana, placing three blocks against the wall as pictured, and with fingers interlocked, raise the hips up and walk in until the dorsal spine is supported against the top brick. Repeat this preparation, or follow on with full Sirsasana with wall support.

As always, balance out your headstand with Sarvangasana. Set up your blankets for shoulder support and prepare your belt for arm support. Place a chair one arm’s length away from your blanket edge for your feet. Go up to Halasana, feet to the chair seat, and then raising one leg at a time, lift up into Sarvangasana. Come back down through Halasana, and then remove your belt and come down, resting the shoulders and head down onto the floor towards the chair.

Come up and sit onto the blanket support and go forward with simple cross-legs and rest the forehead onto the chair seat. Change legs.
Now lie back for Savasana to bring the body, breath and mind back to quiet neutrality.

Roll to the right side before coming up.

View sequence

Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Standing poses for strengthening your foundations
Handstand Preparation
Stand a couple of feet away from the wall with your back to it. Fold into Uttanasana and plant your hands on the floor. Then, activate your arms, open up your shoulders and collarbones, and walk your feet up the wall until your legs are parallel to the floor.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Handstand
Open your hands into the floor and strengthen your arms as you lift your body up, one leg at a time, into an inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary. If pushing yourself up proves to be too difficult, you can walk your feet up the wall.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Utthita Trikonasana
Extended Triangle Pose
Keep the toes and kneecap of your left leg pointed forward and, keeping your spine straight and long, stretch over your leg. Place your left hand on your ankle or on a block next to your foot. Look up towards your extended right arm.
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Extended Side Angle Pose
Bend your front leg and place your hand by of your foot as you stretch your other arm up and over your head. Pull your waist away from the floor, keep your back straight. Place a block under your hand if necessary.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Virabhadrasana I
Warrior I Pose
Angle your back foot outward slightly and straighten your back leg. Lift from your navel up, bring your arms up, and lengthen through the crown of your head. Make sure your front knee and toes are aligned and pointing straight forward.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Virabhadrasana II
Warrior II Pose
1
Angle your back foot in and straighten out the leg. Bend your front knee into a lunge, pointing it forward so that it's aligned with your hips, shin, and toes. Stretch your arms out in a parallel line. Lengthen through the crown of your head.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Ardha Chandrasana
Half Moon Pose
Get rooted through your left foot, point your toes and kneecap forward. Then, place your left hand on the floor or a block in front of you as you stretch your other right leg back in line with your straight back. You can use the wall for support if you lack the balance. If possible, lift your right arm up.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Parivritta Trikonasana
Revolved Triangle Pose
Keep yourself rooted through your toe mounds as you twist and balance. Make sure your spine is straight and elongated, use blocks if necessary.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Parsvottanasana
Pyramid Pose
Place your feet one leg-length apart, your back foot angled out slightly. Keep your legs straight as you start to fold over your front leg, maintaining a concave spine for as far into the bend as possible.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Concave Spine)
Wide Legged Forward Bend with Concave Spine
Spread your weight evenly between your feet and keep your back straight as you tip from your hips, placing your hands on the floor, blocks, or chair seat, depending on your flexibility.
Standing poses for strengthening your foundations
Hero Pose
Fold your legs under you with your heels on either side of your buttocks. Keep your back straight, avoid sinking forward or back. This pose is to be avoided if you lack mobility in your knee joints due to injuries. Cross your legs instead or assume the Baddha Konasana position.
Parvatasana in Virasana
Mountain Pose in Hero Pose
Sit in Virasana, stretch your arms in front of you, and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms outward and, keeping your shoulders open and ribs in neutral, extend your arms upward.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Headstand Preparation with Blocks
Headstand Preparation
Place your forearms flat on the floor next to a wall and interlock your fingers behind the back of your skull. Keeping your head on the floor and your back straight, start to walk your feet closer toward your trunk. Straighten your back and pull your hips up to capacity. This can also be done with your feet to the wall.
Salamba Sirsasana Wall Support
Headstand 1
Activate your shoulders and upper back muscles as you lift your body up into inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your head on the floor or on a block.
Halasana
Plough Pose
Use support under your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders open, lift your hips up high above your head, dropping your feet down behind you. Place your hands on your back to help keep it from rounding.
Sarvangasana
Shoulderstand
Activate your arms and shoulders as you lift your body up perpendicular to the floor. Use blankets or bolsters to support your shoulders. Make sure the back of your neck stays relaxed and maintains its natural curve.
Halasana
Plough Pose
Use support under your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders open, lift your hips up high above your head, dropping your feet down behind you. Place your hands on your back to help keep it from rounding.
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing down as you stretch your arms forward to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.