27 Dec Why Are Standing Poses So Important
Most of the time we’re completely unaware of our posture. We don’t stand properly over our feet. We stand with the weight shifted over one leg, or with the knees locked back. Another far too common postural misalignment is for the pelvis tucked under the shoulders, rounded forward, and the head hanging down and in front of its proper place. My teacher used to say this was because sitting at desks or at the computer was causing human de-evolution.
When we practice the standing poses with proper alignment, we can start to change our postural habits by strengthening the core, and the erector spine. We can strengthen the appropriate muscles in the legs, hips, shoulders and upper back, while opening their antagonist or opposing muscle groups that cause them to tuck or round. We can then stand openly with good posture and ease.
When I first started yoga, I really struggled with the standing poses. It felt so challenging, and sometimes impossible to try to balance and hold myself in these awkward positions.
Most of the group classes I would attend would only “flow” through the standing postures, or maybe only hold for a few breaths. So it seemed like I started to become more comfortable and familiar with positions, but I hit a plateau and wasn’t noticing a significant change in strength and flexibility. We know now that to actually affect the fascia to help the muscles release into their length, a stretch needs to be held longer than 25 seconds.
I was encouraged to practice from the book “Light on Yoga” in addition to the group classes I was taking. I realized from taking group classes that I had been practicing the postures improperly for years, and was unaware of the appropriate actions I needed to encourage while in the poses. The classes I used to take they would only describe the shape instead of how to perform the shape. I learned from the book that by holding the postures for the suggested time, my body started to open up in ways I had never could have imagined. Personally speaking, holding these standing poses was the key to gaining flexibility and becoming stronger.
For me, the standing poses were the key to more advanced asana. Also having a proper guideline for practice and practicing regularly was a major component.
Practicing them daily taught me discipline. Whether I felt like practicing or not, I practiced. I carved out time in the day and made it happen. So through the discipline of practice, I realized the importance of continuing to get on the mat even if I didn’t feel like it.
Yes, practicing yoga will help you to feel better, but not everything is going to feel good. Warrior 3 feels like hell, but if I practice it right my core gets stronger my posture improves and then I notice my back starts to feel better.
Come join my next master class, Root To Rise on Standing Asana and we will discuss major and important poses , discuss how they safely work and move with the planes of the body. You will leave stronger and more confident with your own practice.
By Carlotta Castangia