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7 Standing Beginner Yoga Poses to Increase Strength and Flexibility

Christina D’Arrigo
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Standing beginner yoga poses are an excellent place for new yogis to start their yoga journey. These 7 poses are strengthening, energizing, and also help to increase your flexibility. This is why these poses are perfect for beginners!
 
Common issues for new yogis (and most people in general) are tight hamstrings and a stiff low back. Standing yoga poses are a great way to increase strength by challenging lower body endurance. These standing beginner yoga poses also increase flexibility, particularly in the hamstrings, hips, and even lumbar spine (the low back).
 

Try these 7 standing beginner yoga poses to build strength and increase flexibility:

During your practice, breathe deeply while you hold each pose and notice how your conscious breathing helps empower your time on the mat. In yoga, conscious breathwork is referred to as pranayama, and there are many forms.
 

The best beginner pranayama breathing technique? Ujjayi Pranayama. Learn how with A Beginner’s Guide to Ujjayi Breath
 

1. Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, is the foundation for all yoga poses. It teaches the body the alignment to reference in all the other yoga poses. As a foundational pose, it’s a lot harder than it looks! But this standing beginner yoga pose is the perfect place for a new yogi to begin.
 
tadasana
 
How To practice Mountain Pose:

  • Stand tall with your feet hips distance apart
  • Evenly distribute weight into both feet
  • Roll your shoulders back
  • Bring your arms by your sides with palms facing forward or in towards your body
  • Fix your gaze softly in front of you or close your eyes
  • Hold for 5-7 breaths

 
 

2. High Lunge Pose

High Lunge Pose energizes the body and strengthens the legs, arms, and abdominals. It’s an excellent alternative to Warrior 1 Pose, which we’ll also practice on this beginner yoga pose list. High Lunge is challenging and strengthening, but also a very accessible standing beginner yoga pose.
 
High-Lunge-2
 
How to practice High Lunge Pose:

  • From Down Dog, step one foot forward between your hands
  • Stack your knee over your front ankle
  • Stay high on the ball of your back foot, keeping your back knee lifted
  • Engage your core to lift your torso
  • Raise your arms over your head, your palms facing center
  • Hold for 5-7 breaths on both sides

 
 

3. Warrior 2 Pose

Warrior 2 Pose, or Virabhadrasana II, strengthens the legs and the abdominals, and stretches the hips. This pose has also been known to help you feel more confident, so it’s great for the body, mind and spirit! Warrior 2 is a fun and empowering standing beginner yoga pose to practice anytime you need a little boost.
 
warrior-2
 
How to practice Warrior 2 Pose:

  • Find High Lunge Pose
  • Pivot your back foot 45 degrees so the arch of your back foot lines up with the heel of your front foot
  • Lunge deep into your front leg as you keep your knee stacked over your front ankle
  • Engage your core to keep your torso upright
  • Open your hips to the long edge of the mat
  • Reach your arms out like wings in opposite directions with the palms facing the ground
  • Bring your gaze over your front middle finger
  • Hold for 5-7 breaths on both sides

 

 

4. Extended Side Angle Pose

Extended Side Angle Pose, or Utthita Parsvakonasana, stretches through your shoulders and upper back. It also helps with strengthening and toning the legs and abdominals. Now we’re getting more advanced in our standing beginner yoga poses!
 
side-angle
 
How to practice Extended Side Angle Pose:

  • Find Warrior 2 Pose
  • Bring your front elbow to your front thigh
  • Extend your opposite arm either straight up or forward over your ear, depending on your shoulder flexibility
  • Shift your gaze skyward
  • Hold for 5-7 breaths on both sides

 
Prop Time!

  • For a deeper stretch, place your hand on a yoga block on the outside of your front foot

 
 

5. Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose, or Trikonasana, relieves back pain – especially if you suffer from sciatica or pain in the sacro-iliac joint. It also strengthens the legs and increases hip flexibility. This standing beginner yoga pose offers a wide range of benefits.
 
Trikonasana-2
 
How to Practice Triangle Pose:

  • Find Warrior 2
  • Keep your feet as they are, but straighten both legs
  • Reach your front arm forward until you feel a stretch in your back hip
  • Bring your front arm down to rest on your front thigh, shin, a block or the floor
  • Bring your opposite arm straight up to maintain your outstretched wing shape
  • Gaze towards your top hand
  • Hold for 5-7 breaths on both sides

 
 

6. Warrior 1 Pose

Warrior 1 Pose, or Virabhadrasana I, strengthens your legs and releases tension in the upper back and shoulders. This standing beginner yoga pose also helps to release the iliopsoas and abdominals while stretching the hip flexors. It has subtle yet important differences from the High Lunge Warrior II poses we practiced earlier . . .
 
warrior-1
 
How to practice Warrior 1 Pose:

  • Find High Lunge Pose
  • Pivot your back foot 45 degrees and step it slightly outward toward the edge of your mat so both hip bones shine directly forward
  • Lunge deep into your front leg as you keep your knee stacked over your front ankle
  • Engage your core to keep your torso upright
  • Square your hips off to the front of your mat
  • Reach your arms out up to the sky with your palms facing center
  • Bring your gaze up towards your hands
  • Hold for 5-7 breaths on both sides

 
 

7. Chair Pose

Chair Pose, or Utkatasana, builds heat in the body and really fires up those quads! This standing beginner yoga pose also strengthens the legs and opens the chest and shoulders. You’ll find Chair Pose in Sun Salutation B (and you’ll learn – you should never skip your Sun Salutations!)
 
Utkatasana-2
 
How to practice Chair Pose:

  • Find Mountain Pose with your big toes touching and heels slightly apart
  • Sit your hips back like you’re sitting in the shortest chair to ever exist
  • Bring your weight more into your heels than your toes
  • Tuck your pelvic bone under slightly, engaging your core
  • Lift your arms over your head while actively pulling your shoulders away from your ears
  • Hold for 5-7 breaths

 

These 7 standing beginner yoga poses are a great place for new yogis to start!

There are tons of other standing poses that you can practice once you get the hang of these 7 foundational standing yoga poses! Practice them regularly to gain strength, tone your legs, feel more energized, and relieve some tension in your upper body and hips.
 
Build some yoga confidence for a long lasting and healthy yoga practice!
 

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Christina D’Arrigo

Christina began her yoga journey in a Yoga For Dancers class back in 2008, and she is now an RYT 500 level yoga instructor in NYC. With almost a decade of yoga and over 25 years of dance experience, she knows a lot about the body and the way it moves. Christina runs the growing YouTube channel, ChriskaYoga, where she offers free yoga classes and tutorials.

chriskayoga.com

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