These exercises will improve your stability and balance.
Having good balance has many benefits. In yoga, balancing poses help us to breathe properly, tune into our bodies and become more aware of our individual abilities. Doing yoga poses that focus on stability will allow you to balance more confidently.
The balancing exercises below will help you to strengthen and define your stability muscles in your core, back and legs. The best way to build confidence and strength in these poses is to practice practice practice! As you move through the poses, don’t forget to be patient with yourself and know your body’s limits.
By Teresa Mason
Stack the elbows below the shoulders, and wrists below the elbows. Press away from the floor, and tuck the belly in and up to engage the core. Pretend that there is a puppet’s string between the shoulder blades that is pulling you up to the ceiling. Feet should be hip-width distance apart, toes under the ankles. Hold for 30-60 seconds, or longer for a challenge!
Stack your right shoulder of your right wrist, and open the chest by lifting the gaze. Top arm can either stay at your hips or reach up and overhead to create a rainbow shape with your body. Engage your obliques to keep the hips are lifting away from the floor. Option to modify by dropping the bottom knee to the mat, but still using the core to lift the body open and up. Hold for 30 seconds on both sides.
Starting in a Low Lunge, stack the front knee over the ankle and back heel over the ball of your back foot. Feeling grounded in the front foot and back toes, inhale the arms overhead. Square the hips, externally rotate the front thigh by engaging the quad and glute. Using the calves and hamstring, extend the back leg to have a little-to-no bend in the knee (but don’t lock the knee). Hold for 5-10 breaths each side.
Find Boat Pose, balancing your weight on the sacrum (note: not your tailbone!). Option to straighten legs here for an extra challenge. Inhale and lengthen your spine, and on the exhale begin to lower the body in a straight line to ALMOST touch the floor. Toes are pointed, legs engaged, hips tucked in to keep the belly close to the spine, chest still open, hands at your side. Inhale back up to Boat Pose. Repeat 10-15 times.
Find Mountain Pose with hands on your hips, and your feet shoulder-width distance apart. Bring one foot behind and across your body as you lunge downward. Both knees should be bent at about 90 degrees. Just like in High Lunge, be sure your front knee stacks over your front ankle. If it’s difficult to balance, use a wall for stability. For more of a challenge, add weights to your hands or a barbell on your shoulders. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
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All images courtesy of YogiApproved.com.