Balance is key for a life without trips and tumbles. Build strength, stability and coordination with these standing yoga poses.
The more you can do to challenge your balance, the steadier you'll feel on your feet. It's never too early to start thinking about your balance, and you don't need a workout routine overhaul. If you're already exercising, then you're probably working on your balance without even knowing it. Incorporate these moves in your daily or weekly routine to help improve your balance and keep living the life you want. Feel free to use a chair, wall, or counter top to offer support as you perform these moves.
Stand tall with your ears aligned with your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. From here, tuck your hips in a bit and use your core to stabilize your body. This is Mountain Pose. Take a moment here to be aware of your body and your alignment. Then, gently rock forward toward the front of the room, slightly raising the heels from the floor. Then, rock to the back, allowing your toes to very slightly lift from the floor. This gentle rocking back and forth will test and improve your balance for day-to-day activities.
Start by standing tall with your feet pressed firmly to the ground, then roll your shoulders back and down. As you inhale, raise your arms up slowly. Then on the exhale, release arms back down to your sides. On the next inhale, shift the weight to your heels and as you raise your arms out in front of you, gently bend your knees and sink your hips back as if to sit on a chair. Hold here for a moment, if you feel comfortable, then slowly lower your arms as you return to standing. This is Chair Pose, and it’s effective for building lower body strength while improving balance.
For a challenge: As you come back up from Chair Pose, stand on your toes and reach your arms to the ceiling.
Balancing Pigeon to Balancing Warrior
Start standing with feet hip distance apart. Feel free to hold onto a sturdy chair or counter top to maintain your balance for these moves. Anchor your left foot to the floor, slightly bending the knee, then tap your right toe in front of you. From here, bring your right foot back and toe-tap behind you. Repeat these moves on the other side with your right foot anchored to the floor and your left foot tapping straight ahead and then back.
Make it more challenging: Instead of tapping your toe straight ahead, move your right foot around your left leg and touch your toe to the floor outside of your left foot. Then, rather than tapping your toe to the back, bring the leg back gently and shift your weight to your left leg. Keep your right foot off the ground and bend forward slowly.
Make it intense: Bring your right foot over your left knee and sink back from the hips as if to sit in a chair. Slowly release your right leg and reach it back as you bring your upper body forward.
Start standing, then stretch one foot backward. Face forward and make sure your feet are aligned and both knees are slightly bent. Your front knee should be directly above your ankle. Bring your hands together at heart-center. From here, slowly twist to the right, then come back to center. Try it again, but this time stretch your left foot back in a gentle lunge and twist to the left side.
Try practicing these yoga poses 3 – 5 times each week, challenging and improving your balance a little more each time. If you’re more comfortable doing yoga while seated, check out this seated yoga routine.
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