Standing poses are fundamental poses for any yogi to know in order to improve balance and stability.

Check out this list of standing poses that can help you develop body strength, increase flexibility, stretch your muscles, help you focus, increase your spatial and body awareness, increase mental clarity, boost self confidence, and so much more.

Yoga for balance

Senior couple in a warrior yoga position

Standing yoga poses are especially helpful to improving balance and stability. Standing poses are grounding. They require mental and physical focus, increase body and spatial awareness, and strengthen your core, flexibility, and balance.

Many standing poses are a foundational first step to having a greater ability to do more challenging poses. Consistent practice of standing poses will help ground you and help you become more flexible and have greater balance. Especially the poses done on one foot can be helpful to increasing your stability.

Whether you are a shaky beginner or a experienced yogi, standing poses are essential to cultivating, strengthening and maintaining balance and stability.

Standing yoga poses

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Jen Bonny of Let's practice Yoga doing Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

The mountain pose is the first foundational standing pose. A lot of poses build off of mountain pose, and mountain pose is often considered one of the most important poses in yoga.

It may look simple, but it takes focus and attention, uses almost every muscle in your body and does wonders for improving your posture, stability, and balance. Mastering the mountain pose is crucial for any yogi.

Start by standing with your feet a few inches apart and parallel to each other. Raise your toes up and then back down. Focus on your foundation and being grounded. A little at a time lift your body upwards. Keep your feet on the mat, but bring navel in, stand taller and lift your muscles upwards. Let your arms hang down at your sides.

  • Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Jen Bonny of Let's practice Yoga doing Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

The Triangle Pose is one of the best poses when it comes to engaging your core muscles and increasing stability and balance.

Start by standing on the mat and take a step back with one foot. The front foot should be facing forwards and the back foot angled at 45 degrees.

Raise your arms and lean your upper body forward over the front leg. Move your torso and touch your front foot with your front hand, forming the “triangle” look. Raise the back arm high over your head. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

  • Warriors 1 (Virabhadrasana I) 
Jen Bonny of Let's practice Yoga doing Warriors 1 (Virabhadrasana I) 

Warrior 1 stretches and strengthens many muscles, while improving your balance, stability, and breathwork.

From the Downward dog position, step your right foot forward so it is by your fingertips. Bend your front knee 90 degrees and move your left foot at a 45-degree angle. As you inhale, raise your torso and reach up with your arms. Allow your shoulders to open up and stretch your arms out. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

  • Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
Jen Bonny of Let's practice Yoga doing Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior 2 is similar to warrior 1.   It also stretches and strengthens muscles as well as improves circulation and stability. Warrior two is super helpful with opening up and focusing on the hips.

In  warrior 2 your feet share the same “lane” on the mat. Your left foot should be facing parallel to the mat, while your right foot should be facing forwards. Instead of raising your arms up like warrior 1, you will extend your arms at your side.

  • Peaceful Warrior (Shanti Virabhadrasana)
A lady doing Peaceful Warrior (Shanti Virabhadrasana)

Peaceful Warrior is a pose that opens up the chest and hips. It helps you regulate your breathing, relax, and improves your flexibility and balance.

Start in Warrior 2. Raise your left hand up and back and bend your torso into a light back bend. Rest your right arm on your right thigh. Hold for 5-10 breaths and switch sides.

  • Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)
A woman at the beach doing Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)

The dancer pose, sometimes called Lord of the Dance, is a great hip opener exercise and it stretches your back and shoulders. It also increases focus, improves posture, and boosts energy. It can be a little intimidating for beginners, but it is a great pose and the more you try the easier it will become.

To preform the dancer pose,  stand in mountain pose with your feet together. Slowly shift your weight on to your right foot. Bend your left knee behind you, and grab your left ankle with your left hand. Raise your right hand up towards the ceiling. Tilt your torso forward and bring your left leg up as high as comfortable for you. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Switch sides.

  • Chair pose (Utkatasana)
Jen Bonny of Let's practice Yoga doing Chair pose (Utkatasana)

Chair pose has many benefits. It builds stability in the knee joint and strengthens the other muscles in your legs. It a strengthening core exercise.

Start in mountain pose. Raise your arms parallel over your head. Bend your knees, keeping your thighs parallel to each other. Focus on breathing and hold the position for thirty seconds.

(If you do this pose with your feet together it will work your thigh muscles and help improve your balance, but you can also do the pose with your feet apart.)

Wide legged forward bend

  • Tree pose (Vrikshasana)
Jen Bonny of Let's practice Yoga doing Tree pose (Vrikshasana)

Tree pose helps your core and greatly improves your balance, especially because you are on one foot. Tree pose is good for stability and gaining strength.

To perform the Tree Pose place the foot on the standing leg as high as your body permits. Put your hands together in a namaste position and slowly lift them above your head. If you need you can hold on to a chair for balance.

  • Extended Side Angle pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Jen Bonny of Let's practice Yoga doing Extended Side Angle pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

Extended side angle is a classic standing pose that helps open the chest, stretches the hips, legs, hamstrings, arms, and back, improves posture, and fights the effects of prolonged sitting.

Start in mountain pose but with your feet a comfortable distance apart. Extend your arms out to the side in a t position and palms facing downward. Face your right foot forward, and turn your left foot 90 degrees. Bend your left knee until your left thigh is parallel with the mat. Lean into your left thigh, bringing your left arm down to the mat, and reaching your right arm over your right ear.

Turn your chest towards your right arm and look at your right palm. Hold for 5-10 breaths and switch sides.

Tips for standing yoga poses

  • Relax
  • Press your feet into the mat or floor for added stability
  • Hold onto a chair if needed
  • Align your body
  • Find a focus place to look at during the pose
  • Focus on your breaths