If you aren’t a fan of yoga poses for balance, then reconsider it! The benefits of these poses far exceed added leg or arm strength, though they do have a nice ring to them. Yoga Journal stresses that balance poses help realign our center of gravity, making our concentration more astute. Check out my favorite yoga poses for balance!
One of the most commonly known, and practiced, yoga poses for balance is Tree pose. By rooting one foot into the ground and softly resting the other foot above or below the knee-cap, you can feel the body grounding itself. There are various hand extensions you can do in this pose, such as keeping them in prayer at the heart’s center, raising your prayer hands above your head, or extending your arms like tree limbs to the ceiling in an open V shape. I prefer doing the last of the three because it allows me to have a solid foundation but still feel the flow of energy from my toes to my fingers as they try to hold hands with the sky. If you are a newbie to balance poses, I strongly suggest this one!
Eagle pose not only works on balance but also provides release. First you begin by wrapping your right arm under your left and then again so that your palms are touching to the best of your ability. Pull the elbows away from each other as you wrap your right leg in front of your left leg and either rest it on a block, hold it in the air, or tuck it behind your left leg as you squat. Compressing the blood flow creates a strong feeling of openness when you finally unwind from this position, making sure to do it on the other side. I use a block in this pose to help steady myself while still maintaining the benefits of the balance pose.
3 Balancing Butterfly
Balancing Butterfly doesn’t sound challenging but it tests balance for sure. Squat all the way to the ground while remaining on your tippy-toes, and use your hands to gently guide your knees outwards, opening up the pelvic area. This pose is good for both balance and hip-opening. Make sure to keep your spine straight because this pose will want to push your butt out of alignment. Continue to rest your hands on your knees as you focus softly on your drishti.
4 Half Moon
One of the tricker yoga poses that I enjoy, Half Moon consists of of extending one leg to the back of the room parallel to the floor while you ground yourself on the other foot. The hand that matches the bottom leg, for example your right hand and right foot, reaches to the floor while the opposite hand stretches to the ceiling, followed by your gaze. This balance pose really helps with alignment because you are simultaneously stretching yourself towards the ground, sky, back of the room and front of the room. Don’t get to worked up if you fall out of this one! When I do, I just take a deep breath and return to the pose as best as I can before repeating on the other side.
Dancer is one of my all-time favorite poses! Balancing on your left foot, take your right foot behind you in your right hand. Make sure your fingers are wrapped on the big-toe side of your foot. Placing the left hand in front of you, feel free to touch the pointer finger and thumb together. Carefully extend your leg back and up as you feel the right foot pushing into the right hand with the same amount of energy that the hand is pushing into the foot. My bottom knee always want to lock but keep the leg soft to help find calmness in the pose, not tension.
6 Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe
This pose looks how it sounds! Wrap the first two fingers around your big toe before sending your leg out to the same side. Reach your opposite arm to the other side. Balancing here, remember to keep your hip in check rather than letting it pop out to the side. By bringing awareness to the alignment of the hips, this pose helps keep them in alignment later when standing still, releasing tension from one side or the other. Repeat on the other side and then transition into Mountain Pose, aka standing.
After these trying balance poses, I always like to return to Mountain Pose. You might be wondering how standing can be considered a yoga pose, but following the other balance poses, you can feel the difference. Your feet feel strong as they distribute the weight on your feet equally while you drop your shoulders and reach the crown of your head towards the ceiling. Close your eyes and just breathe. Allow yourself to be in the moment as you become mindful of your centered gravity.
Yoga poses for balance may not sound as tempting as you want them to be, but I hope you learned they are worth the short struggle as you find stillness and peace in each one. I always like to challenge myself with these because they are manageable poses that help me truly focus and recenter myself. Which of these poses do you like best?