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5 Yoga Poses That Better Your Balance

  • Mountain Pose with Eyes Closed

    It might seem like a beginner pose, but it's the base position you'll want to master before moving into more challenging, one-legged balances, like Tree Pose.

    • Start in a standing position with big toes touching and heels slightly apart; outer edges of feet are parallel.
    • Relax arms on either side of body, palms open in a gesture of receptivity. This is Tadasana, also known as mountain pose.
    • Focus on feeling all four corners of your feet rooting into the ground (as steady and sturdy as a mountain). Notice when you close your eyes if you are more in the balls of your feet or the heels, veering left or veering right, and engage your core and find your center.
    • Breathe for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Focus on staying centered, and on your inhales and your exhales.
  • Chair Pose

    This pose is often dubbed "fierce pose" by regular yogis, which is pretty fitting as it requires you to engage your core (which is why it helps so much with balance) and keep your feet firmly rooted into the ground as you reach your arms and torso up in opposition.

    • Start standing in mountain pose.
    • Bend your knees and sink hips back like you are sitting down in a chair.
    • Reach your arms high, framing either side of your face. Look in front of your knees and make sure you can see your toes. If you can't, sit your hips back until you can.
    • Drop your shoulders away from your ears, look up slightly, and pull your belly in to engage your core.
    • Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
  • Boat to Low Boat

    Boat-to-Low-Boat reps are an excellent way to strengthen your core, which helps improve any balance issues.

    • Start seated on your mat with your knees bent in front of you, feet flat on the ground.
    • Reach arms forward so that your hands brush the sides of your knees, palms face up.
    • Lean back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
    • Slowly lift your feet off of the ground as you straighten your legs, forming a "V" with body. Open your chest and engage your core to hold the position. This is boat pose.
    • Take a big inhale here, and on your exhale, lower your torso and legs to hover above the ground (shoulders and thighs just above, not touching). This is low boat pose.
    • Use your inhale to bring you back to boat. Continue alternating for 1 minute, gradually increasing to 3 minutes as you get stronger.
  • Warrior Three

    Have you ever heard the cue "bring everything toward your mid-line" and had no idea what it meant? Warrior Three is all about bringing everything toward your mid-line—aka finding your center and learning how to balance in the most precarious poses.

    • Start in a standing forward fold. Walk hands underneath the shoulders and place them on the floor or on blocks.
    • Keeping your knees soft, shift weight into the left foot and lift right leg behind you.
    • Reach through right heel and internally rotate your right thigh down so toes point toward the ground (this action alone balances and centers your body).
    • When you feel steady, lift your arms one at a time, and bring your palms together in a prayer at your chest. Pull your belly button toward your spine, engaging your core.
    • Breathe here for 5 to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
  • Handstand with Split Legs

    If you are looking to balance on your hands, this is the variation to try. Your legs, when split, can act like the bar that a person on a tight rope holds for balance. If you feel yourself leaning one way, use the opposite leg to pull you back to center.

    • Begin in a forward fold position. Soften knees and press palms firmly into the ground, shoulder-width apart.
    • Lift left leg toward the sky and come high onto the ball of right foot.
    • Using momentum of left leg to lift you, take little hops on right leg until you're upside down, keeping legs split and knees bent.
    • Engage shoulder blades and press away and down from ears. Look slightly forward and grip through your fingertips as if they are your brakes.
    • Try to breathe here for at least 3 deep breaths. Repeat on other side.
    • Pro Tip: If you are not comfortable doing handstand away from a wall, practice this a leg's distance from the wall so that you can have one leg on the wall, and then focus on internally rotating your thighs toward one another (to your mid-line and center) as you lightly press off the wall to bend your knees to balance.

 

Heidi Kristoffer

Heidi Kristoffer is the creator and producer of Microsoft Bing Fitness Yoga & MSN Yoga, creator of CrossFlowX, wellness expert for multiple online platforms, and mama to baby twin girls.  More →

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