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Plus, how I got into yoga standing poses, for massive gains

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I have been practising yoga for 28 years. During that whole time I’ve always including standing poses. Here’s why, plus my story of how I got past my reluctance about them.

Obviously, I can also still get better at them! Check out my story below.

Or, try standing poses, or improve yours, with Flametree’s HALF price and FREE options.

So, here’s what standing poses have delivered to me over the decades. Even today, what I get from them still evolves, and will continue to evolve.

When I was a beginner, they were the main yoga poses that I did. I struggled with having the patience, stamina or strength to stick at them!

My hot head impatience was sure that the teacher was at least sometimes overdoing standing poses!

Finally, as I became more experienced, and then went on to become an accredited Senior Teacher, I have of course also added in different families of asana (postures)…like inversions, forward bends, twists, forward bends, backbends, balancings, and jumpings.

Yoga Standing Pose

              Standing poses invigorate your body & quieten your mind

But, I still find standing poses nourishing, for the reasons I’ll outline.

At first, I used to wonder why standing poses are the initial poses taught to a beginner, especially when most find them challenging.

I now appreciate that they work in so many different ways that it makes total sense to start learning yoga via the practise of the standing poses.

In short, they build your foundation… your legs! In the process, you get strength, flexibility, stamina, and mental focus.

Still, I used to find standing poses a real struggle. Often during the pose I would wonder how much longer were we going to hold the pose before being allowed to release it!

Teaching elephants to dance!

My body seemed too stiff for standing poses. I found them hard to hold even for a few breaths.

I felt like an elephant when I jumped out into them.

My arms and legs seemed to have minds of their own, and go in all directions. I would perspire lots, and become quite shaky and exhausted.

Many of us who start yoga are pretty unfit, with bodies that are thick and sluggish. At 40, even though I was strong, I was entirely inflexible, and stiff as a board.

At the same time, my mind are turbulent, and raced from one thought to another.

I got strong from manual work in the gardening nurseries that I owned. But the strength just made me even stiffer.

Others who take up yoga have a history or doing sports. But, like I was, they are muscle bound and inflexible.

The amazing thing about standing poses is that they strengthen and tone all the muscles groups in the legs and arms… no matter what your background.

In addition, through regular practice of standing poses, you can build long, lean muscles in both the arms and legs, as well as increased flexibility.

In fact the long, lean muscles give you better flexibility than the bulked up muscles that many develop from sport or gym.

Standing pose

Even when you think you’re too stiff for yoga, easy standing poses are a good place to start.

Standing poses fixed my lop-sided pain, calmed my mind

Standing poses also teach you to stand upright.

Of course, nearly all of us labour under the illusion that we are already erect and upright.

For instance, before I started yoga, I tended to favour one side of my body, and drop weight down onto the other hip.

My uneven development caused all sorts of issues from hip pain, lower back pain, right up to stiffness in one shoulder, and one side of the neck.

I was unaware of what was causing the problem or would fix the pain. Plus, it was something that no other type of health professional could diagnose or fix.

The central standing pose (called Mountain Pose or Tadasana) straightens the spine. Thankfully, it steadily did a lot for my issues.

But, Mountain Pose does much more too. It teaches you how to stand still, steady, and calm.

In other words, learning to stand still has a profound effect on settling the mind.

These days, even when my student have back injuries, and many other conditions, standing poses in a Gentle Yoga format, or Flametree’s Yoga For Backs & Stiffness class, still does wonders for them.

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Some of the many benefits you get from yoga

The mental and physical benefits of standing poses

Among other things, as I’ve mentioned, yoga is a practice where you learn to still (or calm) your mind.

In this regard, standing poses are “held” positions. I mean that they’re a lot about calming and straightening.

They also build stamina, strength, and mobility.

In the process, they’re physically invigorating, and mentally quietening.

In the poses, your mind is taught to focus on various parts of the body, as well as to concentrate in order to become steady. Moreover, it’s all done while breathing normally.

So, it’s all part of stilling your mind, and eventually your body.

Have you ever noticed that you fidget in your relaxation poses? Or you used to? That’s one way of noting that your mind is not still (or calm), even yet.

At first, it is hard to quieten the mind because there are some many things going on, and so many sensations.

Plus, it’s hard to breath normally because you are stretching and opening parts of the body that you may never have stretched or opened before.

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Learning to manage your emotions

There will be poses that you like, and find easier than others. Then, you’ll sometimes tend to overdo them, and exhaust yourself.

There will be other poses that you feel you are hopeless at, and you hate them!

You just want to get out of them!

So there will be all sorts of emotions coming up as you try to stay in standing poses.

These experiences are part of the human condition. They are not confined to online yoga students, or students wherever you’re located.

But, standing poses, also deliver huge mental and emotional benefits.

Standing poses also take the body through a whole range of leg movements that help to reduce stiffness in the hips, knees, and ankle joints.

Many of the poses tone muscles in the side of the chest, and abdomen. They also strengthen spine, shoulder joints and neck, while improving circulation to heart, lungs, and abdominal organs.

On top of all that, there are both physical and mental things happening due to the pose.

In particular, while you hold the poses, you are learning the art of becoming less emotionally reactive. This is called developing equanimity.

Iyengar yoga gold coast

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Building mental and physical resilience

So, standing poses are often referred to as “grounding poses”.

This means they earth the feet, and steady the legs, but at the same time steady our minds and emotions.

In the process of all this, they also definitely build physical and mental resilience.

Standing poses are of course weight bearing poses. In other words, they hold up all of your body. As such, they help strengthen bones and joints.

As you work on them, it takes time to understand how to use the arches of your feet so you rebound the energy up into your legs and spine.

In addition, all standing poses involve a subtle shifting of weight from one side or the body to the other.

As a result, as I worked on standing poses, I started to notice postural imbalances.

In turn, I became far more aware and sensitive to how all my actions had various effects throughout my body.

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Tree pose is a foundational standing pose. It’s keeps on delivering benefits, as every level that you’re able to do it.

Standing poses ultimately deliver a positive, happy outlook

I also began to appreciate how all my actions led to thoughts that could be both positive and negative to my mental outlook, and ultimately my health and happiness.

While I continue to practice standing poses, my awareness is now increasingly directed internally.

But, when I was a beginner, I was preoccupied with just becoming stronger and more flexible.

As a beginner, I also tried to figure out what was required to make the shape of the pose. In other words, my awareness was more external.

Now that I am steady in the poses, my awareness has shifted to be more internal. That means I now aware how standing poses can help integrate all the different aspects of myself to deliver a quiet reflective state of mind.

Wow! Until it actually happened, I would never have thought that standing poses would deliver me all this, let alone equanimity, and reflection!

I’ve also come to appreciate how precise standing poses are one of the defining and wonderful aspects of the Iyengar style of yoga that we practise as Flametree Yoga.

So, for Iyengar Yoga Canberra classes, try Flametree’s convenient, half price deals, at the links below. This online option is the best Iyengar yoga in Canberra. See the many benefits I got as I ongoingly learnt yoga standing poses, and much more.

My yoga journey continues. It delivers more health and happiness with each passing day.

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Iyengar yoga Geelong

Over time, other types of poses, work at different levels of strength, flexibility, and focus.

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Beginner classes are ongoing, and can be joined at any time.

Plus, there are Special Focus classes, like Gentle Yoga, Yoga for Backs, Restorative Yoga, Yoga For Immune System, and Fifty Plus options.

Flametree teaches genuine, modern classical yoga that fully delivers all the many benefits of yoga.

It gets you into the correct positions to naturally help your body and mind work to maximise your health and full performance potential.

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