8 Basic Standing Yoga Poses You Should Master
Standing yoga poses are an important part of a full yoga practice and are a great way to challenge your balance and flexibility.
Yoga is an ancient tradition focused on physical, mental and spiritual practices. While the spiritual and mental disciplines are deeply rooted in the complete practice of yoga, many athletes have taken up the exercise in varied ways for its physical benefits; to stay fit, keep moving and improve strength and mobility.
There are many styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga, Iyengar and Sivananda. At their core, all styles focus on the union between the body, mind, and spirit and, because of this, no one type of yoga is ideal for everyone.
Regular yoga practice has been shown to help increase-self-esteem and can enhance muscular strength and muscle flexibility, as well as promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function.
What are yoga standing poses?
Standing yoga poses are the foundation of the physical yoga practice. Also knowns as standing asanas, they encompass all movements where one or both feet are on the ground and the body is more or less upright.
What are standing yoga poses good for?
Standing yoga poses will challenge your balance and stability and have tremendous benefits for strengthening and stretching all muscle groups in your legs.
They require strong legs and core muscles and will develop your endurance and strength especially as you progress into longer flows.
Additionally, standing yoga poses are unique in increasing your flexibility, particularly in your ankles, hamstrings, hips and lower back.
For older adults in particular, regularly practicing foundational standing yoga poses can help improve balance and coordination by strengthening knees, ankles and hips.
8 Basic Standing Yoga Poses for Beginners
You don’t have to be fit to practice yoga as you can always find a flow suitable to your ability. Of course, some movements are more advanced than others, but these 8 basic standing yoga poses are thought with beginners in mind.
Cyndi Lee, founder of OM Yoga Center, highlights that the ultimate task in every yoga pose is to notice the holistic relationship among all the parts of the body.
1: Mountain Pose Tadasana
Mountain Pose, Tadasana, is one of the first poses you’ll learn when you get started with yoga and is the foundation for all standing poses and many inversions.
Mountain pose essentially boils down to standing, but your awareness should be on your physical and mental balance. This pose usually comes up on the first section of your practice to bring calm to the mind and awareness to your whole body.
- Stand up straight with your feet solidly grounded to the floor, about hip-width apart.
- Roll your shoulders back and down with your arms by your sides and your palms facing forward.
- Keep your pelvis neutral and hips square.
- Try to stand upright with your body in perfect alignment.
You can challenge yourself by closing your eyes during this pose, learning to balance without any reference to the outer environment.
2: High Lunge Ashta Chandrasana
The high lunge is an excellent yoga pose to lengthen your hip flexors and stretch your spine, especially if you spend hours sitting.
Also known as Crescent High Lunge, this beginner-friendly standing yoga pose builds lower body strength, strengthening your thighs and ankle and knee joints.
- There are many ways to get into this pose: you can either start in a forward fold (Uttanasana) or standing at the front of your mat in Mountain Pose.
- Exhale and step your right or left foot back towards the back end of your mat, placing only the balls of your foot on the mat. Step back far enough so that your forward leg can form a right angle and keep your feet in a straight line.
- Lengthen your spine and square the hips, ensuring both hip bones align on a perpendicular line against your legs.
- Sink the thigh of your forward leg towards the floor and soften your groin region. Keep your backward knee straight and push that leg upwards.
- Your upper body should face forward in alignment with your hips. Inhale and bring your arms to the sky, relaxing the neck and shoulders.
- Exhale and bring your feet back together towards the front of the mat. Repeat with the opposite foot.
You can advance this pose trying to lengthen your backwards step and sinking deeper into the lunge, relaxing the groin region while keeping strength on the legs, core and upper body.
3: Chair Pose Utkatasana
The chair pose works will tax your legs, core and arms and requires great ankle mobility to reach deeper levels.
Quad strength and a solid midline will keep you balanced during this pose, where you lower your centre of gravity.
- Start in Tadasana. Taking a deep inhale, bring your arms to the sky in a circle so they are parallel above your head, palms facing inward.
- Bend your knees and begin to hinge your hips back and down as if you were about to sit on a chair. Try to take your thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible.
- Your knees may go over your feet and your torso should lean slightly forward to help with balance.
- Tuck your tailbone under to maintain a straight lower back and keep your heels well grounded to the floor.
- Stay in this pose for around seven breaths. To come out, straighten your knees with an inhalation and stand up leading with your arms. Exhale and lead your arms to your sides into Tadasana.
Perform this pose regularly to improve your ankle mobility. To deepen the strength requirements of Chair, squeeze a yoga block between your thighs.
4: Warrior I Pose Virabhadrasana I
There are three variations of the Warrior. Warrior I stretches your ankles, calves and thighs, strengthens your quadriceps and back muscles and lengthens your shoulders, neck, chest and arms.
It is easy to flow into Warrior I pose from a High Lunge; they’re both very similar poses in that they both comprise a lunge in which the forward knee is above the ankle and bent 90 degrees, and the torso faces forward.
The key difference between both poses is that in Warrior I the back heel is grounded on the floor in a 45-degree angle. This stretches different parts of the back leg.
- Stand in Tadasana and step your right or left foot back toward the back end of your mat. Your forward knee should be aligned with your ankle and form a right angle, so your shin is perpendicular to the floor and the foot points to the front of the mat.
- Straightening your back leg, ground your back foot on the floor and point your toes 45 degrees in the direction of the front of the mat. Both your heels should be aligned.
- Inhale and lift both arms above your head in a circle, reaching actively through your fingers towards the ceiling. Your arms should finish parallel to each other with your palms facing inward.
- Relax your head back and look towards your palms, which can be interlaced. All along keep a strong core and ensure your lower back is engaged.
- Square your hips and torso with the front of your mat, ensuring your back heel stays grounded.
- Continue to reach strongly through your arms and relax your pelvis, hips and thighs, sinking into the pose a little deeper.
- Maintain this pose for 30 seconds to a minute. To exit, inhale and find strength on your back leg, bracing the core. Straighten the front knee, face your feet forward and push with your back leg to brong your feet together at the front of the mat with an exhale.
- Repeat the pose with your other foot.
Beginner tip: if you struggle to keep your back heel grounded and your lower back lengthened, you can raise your back heel on a sandbag or other little prop to help out. Aim to remove this as you continue practicing.
Bring Energy and Life to Your Poses!
Understanding the figure
To draw a pose correctly, you don’t need to always carry an anatomy book with you. It’s not as difficult as it seems: observation and practice are your best tools. If at any point you get curious about trying something new (which I hope you do), it never hurts to take a look at that anatomy book.
Even if your drawing style is far from realistic, the aspects that make a pose interesting and credible remain the same: strength, rhythm, action lines, construction and perspective.
Your closest reference is yourself. If you look at yourself in front of a mirror and start moving, you will notice that your body works as a single element.
When you raise an arm, the arm is not the only part of your body that moves, unlike how the removable extremities of dolls work. The changes in your body don’t resemble figure A, right? For example, your shoulder also lifts, and many other parts of your body adapt to the movement as in figure B.
This is what observation means: paying attention to the details and characteristics of the body.
Strength and rhythm
Your characters move thanks to their inner strength. They can walk, jump, dance… whatever comes to mind! But unless they are floating in space, it is not the only force that acts on them, as gravity makes their feet stay on land.
When two or more forces interact with each other, a rhythm is set, which provides balance and sense to the movement.
If your character is pushed to the left, his body will fall in that direction (A), unless he puts up resistance to stand (B).
If the character wants to pull something that refuses to move, his body will lean in the opposite direction. Obviously, once the cat gives in to the force, your character will fall, as the cat was what kept him standing.
Strength and rhythm provide a lot of visual information you can work with: the weight of your character (1), the balance of his pose (2) or the lack of it (3).
The action line is the imaginary guide that indicates your character’s movement. It focuses on actions and helps to unify the whole figure.
Below you can see a couple of examples where strength, rhythm and action lines interact together.
The character (1) has a relaxed stance, resting on her right arm. In the figure (2), we can see her action line, which covers her whole body up to the foot. The shape is slightly similar to an S.
We can see it is a relaxed pose because her weight rests on a single point (3) and all she needs is to keep the balance with her left foot, which remains taut while the right one is resting.
The next pose is more dynamic, so there are more things going on in this image.
This time you can see three action lines, but the most important are (1) and (2), the ones that really tell the story. The first one covers the whole figure from head to toe, and the second one goes in the opposite direction, keeping the balance and forming an X. The third one simply provides greater stability to the pose.
In this drawing we can see that there is a force that pushes the character in the opposite direction to her gaze. Elements such as the hair, the clothes and the dust on the floor suggest that the force comes from the right side, and as these elements are light, they are affected by the speed with which this force acts.
However, this girl wants to overcome this force with her own strength. She has no intention of losing the fight.
This time, our character is a baseball player. He’s spinning his body to get enough momentum and counter the ball’s force to hit it far away. Don’t you get the impression that it will be a home run even though you haven’t seen how the scene ends yet? It’s the magic of anticipation. If you know how to properly handle the strength, rhythm, and action lines correctly, you will be able to guide the spectator along the path you have set. This is very important for any comic artist.
It’s important that you don’t overpopulate your drawing with too many action lines, because it could confuse the character’s intention, make the force go in different directions, and take the emphasis away from the most important action.
The body is quite complex and it is difficult to draw correct proportions and move away from the 2D plane. I recommend you shape a base that helps you discern the volume of each element. To do this, we will use geometric figures such as spheres, cubes and cylinders to represent the structure of the body.
These figures can be freely rotated, stretched, flexed, and twisted according to the pose.
These figures represent the direction of the different elements of the body. You must pay special attention to the limits of the joints, since at a certain point you have to turn or twist the body to keep moving in that direction, changing drastically the pose.
With practice, this process gets simpler. The better you understand how the figure works, the fewer guides you will need.
Perspective turns the 2D plane into a 3D one and adds more depth and visual richness to the composition than just looking at it from a frontal plane.
The eye level or horizon line represents the actual height of the viewer’s eyes (1), and the vanishing points are the lines projected from a point on the horizon (2). The following image has a perspective with two vanishing points with which we can appreciate two faces of the figure.
The body is more intricate, but the principle is the same. For example, this figure’s feet and hands are smaller due to the perspective, and even suggest us how we should project the vanishing point lines.
Action poses always look more dramatic when the perspective is exaggerated. Even when the poses are not entirely realistic, the figures seem credible and the scenes look more interesting.
I recommend you to practice and read about perspective as much as possible, as it is not something you can master in a day. Analyze as many references as you can. Eventually, you’ll end up seeing vanishing points everywhere.
You can speed up and improve your observation skills by drawing poses using photos or actual people as a reference and setting a short time limit for it. The aim is to capture the essential information of the figure and, of course, to draw as many poses as possible.
This exercise will also help you to increase your confidence when drawing. Don’t be afraid to draw the first line, and even if you make a mistake, avoid erasing the lines. Try to focus and draw clean, clear lines.
Below you can see some examples of poses that I have drawn within 45 to 60 seconds:
At first, focus on drawing the whole body with smooth lines. Then, if you have more time, detail and build the shape better.
Don’t be afraid to draw what you don’t see or what is hidden, as it will give you a better idea of the figure’s structure.
Try to exaggerate the lines. It makes them softer and more credible, however crazy it sounds.
Unless the model is in a very rigid posture, try to avoid straight lines. The most natural poses are built with curves.
I hope these tips have been helpful!
If you want to see more of my work, from these links you can access my social media pages and my portfolio:
Thank you so much for reading this article!
Attack in Iraq near U.S. base poses early challenge for Biden administration
A deadly rocket salvo being blamed on Iran-allied Shiite forces in Iraq is raising questions of how far Tehran is willing to provoke the new Biden administration prior to any negotiations over restarting the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
A non-U.S. contractor was killed and more than a half-dozen others — including an American service member — were wounded in the attack late Monday night at an airport in the Kurdish-controlled northern part of Iraq that lies close to a U.S. military base.
A similar attack that killed an American contractor in Iraq just over a year ago was the immediate catalyst for President Trump’s order for an airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in early January and put the U.S. and Iran on the brink of open warfare.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR in an interview that the attack was outrageous, but added it was too soon to say whether Iran, which has deep ties to Iraq‘s powerful Shiite militia groups, played any role.
“Certainly we’ve seen these attacks in the past,” Mr. Blinken said. “We’ve seen Iraqi militia, Iranian-backed militia in many cases, be responsible. But to date, it’s too early to know who is responsible for this one.”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Tuesday condemned the attack during a telephone call with his Iraqi counterpart, Minister of Defense Jumaah Saadoon.
A previously obscure militia group, Saraya Awliya al-Dam, claimed responsibility for the attack, but U.S. officials say that they are still working to confirm that.
The attack drew instant comparisons to the Dec. 27, 2019, rocket attack on a base in Iraq‘s Kirkuk province that killed an American civilian contractor and injured four members of the U.S. military.
“Iran and its proxies, which are likely behind this attack, are waiting to see how the Biden team will respond,” said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Mr. Trump set a clear policy of retaliation based on whether a U.S. citizen was killed or wounded.
“At least there was a clear attempt at establishing a deterrent,” Mr. Taleblu said. ” … There is linkage whether [U.S. officials] choose to see it or not,” he said.
Officials with Operation Inherent Resolve — the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State — said the attackers fired 14 107-mm rockets at the military base in Irbil with three landing within the camp. Col. Wayne Marotto, the spokesman for the coalition, said the Kurdistan Regional Government is leading the investigation into the barrage.
While he wouldn’t confirm the attack came on orders from Tehran, Mr. Blinken noted that Iran-backed militias have been responsible for several such strikes in the past.
“But, to date, it’s too early to know who’s responsible for this one,” he said.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, said the attack demonstrates the importance of cooperation between Iraq‘s security forces and Iraqi Kurdistan.
“The Iraqi people have suffered for too long under these kinds of brazen acts of violence, which only serve to undermine the sovereignty and stability of their nation,” Mr. Menendez said.
Mr. Trump oversaw a significant drawdown in U.S. forces in Iraq in his final year in office, going from more than 5,000 to the current 2,500. Dan Caldwell, a former Marine now with the advocacy group Concerned Veterans for America, said Monday’s attack was a reminder U.S. troops remain in harm’s way despite the reduced numbers.
“ISIS is defeated and that was our primary mission in Iraq,” said Mr. Caldwell. “We need to step back and assess whether or not it’s in our interest to continue to have Americas exposed to attack.
There appears to be mixed messages coming out of the administration regarding America’s continuing activity in the Middle East. While President Biden says he wants to shut down “endless wars” and bring American troops home, some of his advisers and staffers seemed to be implying that the U.S. presence there may be longer, Mr. Caldwell said.
That, he added, hands adversaries like the Shiite militias the military initiative.
“It allows them to meddle with us ‘on the cheap,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to launch a 107 mm rocket at a [land base] to kill and wound Americans than it is to try and sink an aircraft carrier,” he said. “But, it is hard to tell how Biden is going to respond.”
In an address to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, U.S. Deputy U.N. Ambassador Richard Mills said the Biden administration‘s top priorities in Iraq were dealing with the lingering threat from ISIS and the destabilizing impact of the Iranian-backed militia movement that has resisted central government control.
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7 Basic Bodybuilding Poses
There are several different bodybuilding poses.
Image Credit: FatCamera/E+/GettyImages
Bodybuilding is not relegated to the Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the world any longer. Even moms serving in the Marines are joining in for the sense of accomplishment it gives them. The seven basic bodybuilding poses are also known as compulsory poses, because competition rules usually require that you perform them.
You perform the seven basic poses for the judges' panel usually in the round two set of compulsory poses, according to ExRx.net. Women may not need to perform the front or back lat spread poses. Each pose brings out your muscular definition in different ways. Master the seven basic poses and find your best angles by practicing in front of a mirror or using a camera.
1. Front Double Biceps
The front double biceps pose is one of the mandatory poses, reports the IDFA. It emphasizes the development and balance between your biceps and triceps.
Flex both biceps with your elbows pointing out to the side. Elevate your upper arms just past parallel with the floor. Flex your arms past 90 degrees and bend your wrists halfway, if your biceps have large peaks. Flex your arms at approximately 90 degrees and bend your wrists all the way, if you have smaller biceps. Lengthen your torso and draw your belly button in to emphasize a broad shoulder base and lat spread. Crunch with this pose if your abs are well developed.
2. Front Lat Spread
Stand with your feet close together, one foot in front of the other. Position the inside of your back foot toward the heel of your leading foot. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees with palms down and anchor your thumbs behind your waist on top of your hips, fists clenched. Spread your lats by pulling your shoulder blades away from your spine while pushing your fists against your sides, keeping your shoulders down.
Put your best side to the judges, feet 4 to 6 inches apart. Straighten your back leg and plant your front toes. Lift your front heel and bend your front leg approximately 30 degrees. Release half the air from your lungs and expand your chest. Bend your front arm 90 degrees with your palm facing up in a loose fist.
Reach your back arm across your abdomen to grasp the opposite wrist with the back palm facing down. Push the arm against your body, and your front upper arm firmly against your ribs. This pose shows pectoral development.
4. Back Double Biceps
With your back to the judges put one foot a half step back. Straighten your back and lift your chest. Extend both arms straight up and slowly flex your arms while pointing your elbows to the sides. Lower your elbows just below your ears. Pull your arms toward the judges, wrists closer to the judges than elbows. Flex your back muscles, calves and hamstrings. Tense your abs to show off your lower back.
5. Back Lat Spread
Turn your back to the judges with feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Angle your toes slightly to the sides and put one foot a half step back toward the judges. Plant the back foot toes firmly on the floor with the heel raised and knees slightly bent. Bend your elbows 90 degrees with your palms down and fists against your sides, thumbs anchored on your hips. Widen your back as much as possible by pulling elbows forward and spreading shoulder blades apart.
Face the judges, feet 4 to 6 inches apart. Straighten your back leg, and plant your front toes firmly. Lift your front heel and bend your front leg about 30 degrees. Extend your front arm down your side, reach across the small of your back with your back arm to grasp the front wrist. Keep the back palm toward the rear and front upper arm firmly against your side. Exhale fully and flex your triceps, deltoids, abs and legs.
7. Front Abdominal Pose
Face the judges with your stronger leg approximately one foot in front of the other. Point the front toes forward and angle back toes out to the side. Flex quadriceps and spread your calves. With your hands behind your neck, interlock your fingers. Point elbows up and stand straight. Flex your biceps, chest and abdominal muscles firmly. Experiment angling your legs slightly differently to emphasize different leg muscles.
All characters in MB-Lab are rigged using the same core skeleton structure, in order to have a stable standard and to easily share poses and animations.
The core skeleton is designed to be clean and to match most of motion capture files and game engines. The root is located on the floor, and the detailed rigging for toes is merged in one bone.
In version 1.6.0 and above, there are two advanced rigging structures built on the core skeleton: the inverse kinematics system and the base muscle system. These two system can be combined, so it’s possible to have a character that use both them.
As usual, the GUI to use this technology is very simple: the rigging systems are just options to choose before creating the character.
Starting from version 1.5.0 the standard skeleton also includes eight roll bones
The hand structure is the classic one, with common names for fingers. The hand uses four bones per finger, having posable metacarpus that is very important for some hand positions.
MB-Lab offers several rigging options.
- Base Skeleton
- Base Muscle
- IK Skeleton
- IK Skeleton and Muscle
These options can be selected at MB-Lab start up.
Depending on the rig options selected will determine the resulting rig and ultimatly how the character will be used depending on the needs of the user.
Muscle base system¶
MB-Lab includes a simulated muscle armature. This system tries to emulate the behaviour of the human muscles
The images show some features of the muscle system and a comparison with the base skeleton system:
To reach this goal, a big amount of time was spent to design a flexible armature using only basic built-in components offered by Blender, without drivers but only constraints. The structure was heavily tested with many benchmark animations, in particular to avoid or minimize the problem of unwanted rotations that sometime are created by the solver for extreme angles.
The IK structure offers a set of additional bones used to control the limbs in an easy and intuitive way.
Inverse kinematic controllers
It includes special controllers for fingers (the complex movement open-close of each finger, obtained as a combination of four bones, is handled by one controller), controllers for metacarpals (one controller handles contemporary the movement of all the metacarpals), controller for heel-toe movement, track target for head, and more.
A rest pose is what you see when there are no poses applied, in other words, when all the limbs rotations are zero.
The rest pose is an important feature because it determines the behaviour of the skeleton during the animation and the posing. For this reason the choice of the rest pose is part of the character “creation” phase.
On the contrary, The action poses and the animation are part of the “after creation” phase. You can read more about the “creation” and “after creation” steps in the modelling process section.
- NOTE: The rest pose selector is not available for skeletons with inverse kinematics.
The GUI is very intuitive. You can select one of the preset rest pose from the builtin library, or load/save a custom rest pose.
To load a preset, just select it from the drop-down menu:
The built-in library covers the most common configurations used in CG.
To create a custom rest pose, select the skeleton, enter in Blender “pose mode” and proceed with the usual Blender techniques (RKEY to rotate, etc..). Then use the “Save custom rest pose” button to save the pose as json database. Since all skeletons of MB-Lab are based on the same armature structure, the rest pose can be used with all lab characters. To load a custom rest pose, press the “Load custom rest pose” button and select the pose file.
The pose library is an after creation tool, so it’s available only for finalized characters.
The GUI for the pose library is very intuitive: The first element is a drop down menu that shows all the artistic poses currently implemented, labeled with intuitive names.
The buttons “Load pose” and “Save pose” are used to load and save poses using a simple json file.
MB-Lab can load a raw animation from bvh files.
It’s an advanced expert system that analyzes the “anatomy” of the bvh, automatically recognizes the various elements (fingers, head, spine, feet, ecc.). During the tests it successfully recognized the most common skeleton structures used in mocap descriptions.
The animation system works with the FK armature, it has been noticed that using the Muscles armature will cause deformation of the body mesh, at this point it is not entirely understood why.
It is also not possible to use bvh animation files with the IK rig.
It is highly suggested that users disable the Subdivision Surface Modifier, this will improve frame rates during animation.
Human Rotation Limits¶
If selected this option puts limits on rotations of the FK skeleton rig. Using this will prevent extreme rotation poses that are not “natural” to the human body.
In some cases, when the rest pose of the bvh is not perfectly equal to the rest pose of the lab character, it’s required to correct the angles of some parts (usually clavicles and upper arms). This can be easily done selecting the bone to correct and using the offset tool under “Utilities” section.
The system is not designed to correct the bvh, but just to load and retarget the animation as it is, so things like wrong angles, tremors, frame rates must be corrected using external specific tools.
Save and load config files to adjust bones after importing BVH animation files.
With this feature, you’ll be able to tweak XYZ bone rotations, store in a file for a specific BVH Animation ( or more depending on the adjustments ) and then simply load this file whenever you want to reuse that BVH animation and the tweaked bones will self-adjust.
Connector/Object Position/Orientation fix-up can cause broken base poses
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