The beauty of yoga is that it’s for everyone. Young, old, fit or unfit, limited movement and pregnancy. It doesn’t matter. You can do it anywhere with minimum fuss. So, grab yourself a mat and make some space.
Try our seven-favourite standing yoga poses (asanas) to give you a complete workout. For ultimate relaxation, don’t forget to slow your breathing down throughout. It will help your body to flow naturally through the sequence. If you find any pose difficult, pause until your breathing returns to normal.
Ideally, warm up with a few sun salutations to begin.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Yoga pose for improving posture
This is the foundation of all standing poses. Stand at the base of your mat. Feet together, big toes touching, arms by your side. Lift and spread your toes and balls of feet. Softly press them into the floor. Gently rock side to side and back and forth. Bring to a standstill, with weight balanced evenly on both feet. Draw down through heels and straighten your legs. Lift knees but don’t lock kneecaps. Lift thigh muscles up and back. Inner thighs should turn slightly inwards. Draw pelvic floor muscles together. Gently pull your abdomen slightly in and up. Open your chest.
Inhale deeply a few times. Roll your shoulders open as you breathe in, palms should face outwards. This will help bring your shoulder blades onto your back. Ears align over the shoulders; the crown of the head should lift up as if by an invisible thread. Soften the face.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Yoga pose for reducing flat feet, strengthening legs, chest and spine
Stand with feet together, hands on hips. Keep weight evenly distributed between each leg. Exhale as you bend your knees. Push your bottom behind as if to sit on an imaginary chair. When you can’t maintain the tripod effect any longer, stop bending your knees. Gently press legs towards each other, hug your hips towards the midline. Raise arms overhead, with palms facing towards each other. It should feel comfortable. If it's pinching or compressing, you’re overdoing it. Spread your upper back, externally rotate the shoulders and widen across the chest. Maintain the pose for at least 5-10 breaths. You’re warming your legs up for the Warrior sequence (Warrior I, II, and Extended Side Angle) which is coming up next.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana)
Yoga pose for stretching most of your body
Step the right foot forward between your arms. Bend into the right thigh. Keep your left foot in position. Right toes face forward, left toes at 45 degrees. A good tip is to imagine that the right and left feet are in opposite lanes of a road. Feet too close to the midline will feel like you’re walking a tightrope.
As you come up, look in towards your navel and imagine curling your tailbone underneath. Roll up gently. No jerky movements here, just fluid, smooth glides. Reach your fingertips up and overhead. Using the right arm, reach behind, grab your top inner thigh and turn it towards the sky. This will allow your left hip to swing forward. Reach your fingertips up towards the sky again and bend into the front knee. Reach the shin forward, rather than the knee forward. Stomach should feel drawn in.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Yoga pose for improving stamina, balance and stability
Stretch arms out to the side, gently widen your stance. Turn hip bones towards the side of your mat. Your front knee needs to be over your front ankle whilst your back leg remains straight. Keep reaching outwards with both fingertips. Shoulders align over the hips. Gaze forward, keep pose strong and stable.
Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Yoga pose for stretching the side body
Start with hands on hips, feet wide apart. Turn your right foot out. Rotate your back-foot inwards, then align heels. Bend your front knee to sit directly over the front shin. Stance should be firm and strong. Next bend your right elbow. Place your right forearm across your right thigh, palm upward. Gaze forward. Then extend your left arm overhead, palm facing the floor. Your body should be holding a strong elongated line from the outside of your left foot to the outside of your left finger. Inhale deeply five times. Slowly rise up vertically until you’re standing with legs outstretched either side.
Repeat the full Warrior sequence on the other side now before moving to Triangle Pose.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Yoga pose for alleviating back pain
Step the feet widely apart. Stretch arms and fingers out to the side. Wrists align above the ankles. Tuck in your tailbone. You should feel your spine elongate. Toes can be drawn in slightly. Roll your arms upwards so palms face the sky. Inhale and roll your arms so the palms face downward. Rotate right toes out to 90 degrees (pointing towards end of mat). Turn your left foot slightly (about 45 degrees). Your left hip should move inwards as your left foot turns. Inhale, reach your left hip towards the back of the mat whilst reaching forwards with your right fingertips. Feel the bend at the right hip crease and a stretch along your side body. Lean forwards into the posture until your right fingertips are touching your shin. Keep the right side of your body long, not compressed. Right arm needs to stay strong. Using your left hand, guide your ribcage open, then left fingers reach towards the sky. Head can face downwards, forward or upwards depending on what feels comfortable.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Yoga pose for strengthening your core
Press your right foot into the ground. Come onto the tiptoes of your left foot. Feel the weight transfer from both feet to just one foot. Bring your left knee up, hold it with both hands. Left hand opens your knee like a gate. Your foot should rest either above or below the knee joint, (not on it). Push your heel in towards the thigh. Simultaneously, push your thigh against the heel. It feels like two forces pushing against each other. You’ll feel a stretch in your hips at this point. Be sure to keep your hips pointing forward. Only your knee should point to the side. Hands go into prayer pose and relax shoulders. Gaze forward. Inhale deeply five times.
To come out of the pose, bring the knee back in and set the foot back on the floor.