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Next-Level Yoga Balances for After You've Nailed Tree Pose

Yoga balances might look easy enough, but we promise they'll test your core strength more than any heavy lift or marathon run. If you've mastered the most basic yoga balance (AKA tree pose), then you're ready to tackle these five. They'll challenge you physically and mentally, but that's Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland's specialty—training with focus and intent. Below, find tips on how to master each one. You can try them on their own or string them together for a balance-boosting flow. (Next up: Try these yoga arm balances that will get you super strong.)

Figure 4 Chair Pose
Start with feet together and hands on hips. Lift left knee up and cross ankle over right knee so left knee falls out to the side. Lift arms up by ears, and draw hips back to sit into chair pose while balancing on right leg. Hold for three breaths.

Extended Big Toe to Hand
From figure 4 chair pose, uncross left leg and stand with knee raised in front of you, arms still overhead. Place right hand on hip, and reach down to wrap left index and middle fingers around left big toe. Balance here, or if you have the flexibility, extend left leg straight in front while holding big toe. Keep chest lifted and core tight. Hold for three breaths.

Warrior III
Start in high crescent lunge with right foot in front. Reach arms forward with palms facing in, shift weight into front foot, and lift back foot off the ground. Keep arms by ears and try to align core and left leg parallel to the floor while balancing on a straight right leg. Keep left toes pointed towards the floor and neck in a neutral position. To modify, reach arms out to the side for airplane pose, or place fingertips on the floor in front for extra balance. Hold for three breaths.

Half Moon
From warrior III, place right fingertips on the floor under the right shoulder. Lift left arm towards the ceiling and open left hip to stack on top of the right. Point chest and toes towards the left side wall. Hold for three breaths.

Rotated Half Moon
From half moon, return left hand to the floor, square hips, and point left toes towards the floor. Reach right arm up, fingertips towards the ceiling, and rotate torso towards the right side wall.

Repeat the poses or flow on the other side. Watch the full video for extra tips on how to transition from pose to pose for a true yoga flow.


Lauren Mazzo

Lauren Mazzo is a digital assistant editor for Shape and Fitness. She's an Ithaca College alumna, a Rochester, NY, native and an NYC transplant.  More →

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