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15 Standing Yoga Poses To Improve Full-Body Balance & Stability

Kristine Thomason
mbg Senior Health Editor By Kristine Thomason
mbg Senior Health Editor

Kristine Thomason is the senior health editor at mindbodygreen.

tree pose

There are so many reasons to add yoga to your daily routine: It could improve flexibility, aid digestion, promote better sleep, and support mental health, among other benefits. Not to mention, it's a type of exercise you can do just about anywhere. That especially goes for any yoga poses you can do while standing—aka the mat is technically optional.

Standing yoga poses are not only a convenient option for stretching and strengthening during your day, but they're also fantastic for building balance and stability. Generally, you hold these poses for a shorter amount of time, and they tend to be pretty energizing. Below, we've compiled 15 standing yoga poses—with both their English and Sanskrit names—demonstrated by yoga instructors Phyllicia Bonanno and Juanina Kocher:

1. Mountain Pose (tadasana)

mountain pose

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  1. Stand up tall, and allow your shoulders to drop back.
  2. Feel grounded as your crown stretches toward the sky.
  3. Take a deep breath in, reach your arms up to the sky. Hold for a couple of breaths.
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2. Forward Fold (uttanasana)

forward fold

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  1. Stand up tall with your arms reaching up to the sky.
  2. As you exhale, hinge at your hips and fold your upper body forward, bending your knees if needed.
  3. Inhale, and come into a half-lift. Then exhale and lower back down. Hold for a couple of breaths.

3. Warrior 1 (virabhadrasana I)

warrior 1

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  1. From a downward-dog position, bring your right knee in toward your nose, and plant your foot in between your hands.
  2. Pivot your back foot down, and lift your torso up, coming into a warrior 1.
  3. Bend your front knee and lift your arms toward the sky.
  4. Hold for a couple of breaths.

4. Warrior 2 (virabhadrasana II)

warrior 2 yoga pose

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  1. From a high lunge, pivot your back heel down, and open your body to the side. Your back foot should be turned in slightly. Your front knee should be right over your ankle.
  2. Energetically stretch your arms in opposite directions, keeping a soft gaze over your fingertips. Hold for a couple of breaths.

5. Warrior 3 (virabhadrasana III)

warrior 3

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  1. From a warrior 1 position, ground down through your front foot.
  2. Peel the back toes off the ground, and swing your arms behind you.
  3. Push your back leg up, creating a straight line from toe to torso. Hold for a couple of breaths.

6. Peaceful Warrior (viparita virabhadrasana)

peaceful warrior

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  1. From warrior 1 pose, bring the left hand down behind you, and allow it to rest on the back of the left thigh.
  2. Keeping the right biceps by your ear, reach your arm backward. Gently bend your spine, gazing toward your fingertips.
  3. Hold for a couple of breaths.

7. Triangle Pose (utthita trikonasana)

Triangle pose

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  1. From peaceful warrior, straighten your front leg.
  2. Bring your arms into a "T" position, then shift your body forward and bring your right hand to rest on your right foot or shin.
  3. Lift your left arm up toward the sky. Hold for a couple of breaths.

8. Triangle Twist (parivrtta trikonasana)

triangle twist pose

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  1. From a triangle pose, bring your left arm down to the mat.
  2. Twist your torso, and open up to your right side.
  3. Bring your right arm up to the sky, and gaze up at your fingertips.
  4. Hold for a couple of breaths.

9. Crescent Lunge (ashta chandrasana)

high lunge yoga pose

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  1. Begin with one foot in between your hands and your left leg extended backward. Ground down through your front foot, and lift onto your left toes.
  2. Slowly rise up into a high lunge, bringing your arms overhead and keeping the gaze in front of you.
  3. Hold for a couple of deep breaths.

10. Crescent Lunge + Cactus Arms (ashta chandrasana + cactus arms variation)

high lunge with cactus arms

Image by mbg Creative / mbg Creative

  1. Bring your right foot in between your hands, and rise up into a high lunge position, with your left toes pressed into your mat.
  2. Lift your arms up toward the sky, and slowly bend your elbows, coming into cactus arms.
  3. Hold for a couple of breaths.

11. Tree Pose (vrksasana)

tree pose

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  1. Start in a standing position.
  2. Ground down through your left foot. Bend your right knee, and bring your right foot to your left ankle, lower part of your leg, or thigh (whatever you prefer).
  3. Stretch your arms up to the sky, or bring hands to heart center. Hold for a couple of breaths.

12. Yogi Squat (malasana)

malasana squat

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  1. From a standing position, lift your arms up to the sky, then bend forward, bringing your hands to the ground.
  2. Walk your feet hips-width distance apart.
  3. Bend your knees, pivot your toes out, and slowly lower into a squat. Hold for a couple of breaths.

13. Figure-4 Chair Pose (eka pada utkatasana)

figure 4 chair pose

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  1. Come into a standing position on your mat.
  2. Ground down through your left leg. Lift your right knee, and plant your foot onto the thigh.
  3. Flex your foot, hinge at your hips, and lower into a chair pose.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.

14. Dancer Pose (natarajasana)

dancer pose

Image by mbg Creative / mbg Creative

  1. Rock and roll your body to come up to a standing position.
  2. Ground down through your left foot. Bend your right leg behind you. Grab the foot from the big toe side.
  3. Reach and extend your left hand up toward the sky. Pull yourself forward. As you open up, push that foot into your hand.
  4. Hold for a few breaths, then come out of the pose.

15. Chair Pose (utkatasana)

chair pose

Image by mbg Creative / mbg Creative

  1. From a standing position, lift your arms to the sky.
  2. Slowly bring your hips back, as if you're sitting in an imaginary chair.
  3. Hold for a couple of breaths.

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