There are many reasons why we strive for better balance. Whether it’s staying in yoga poses longer and stronger, performing better in sports, or just for day-to-day safety and mobility reasons, there are a range of benefits that come from having better balance. Just as strength and flexibility are key pillars to healthy performance, so is balance. There are a lot of easy ways we can work on building up better balance. Here are some of the best yoga postures to easily improve your balance.
Downward facing dog
Start by creating a firm foundation in downward-facing dog. Create an inverted “V” shape with the body by pressing into the palms and extending the spine. Tuck your toes under and extend the legs, keeping a small bend in the knees. Let the head hang heavy and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Invite in any gentle movement that feels good briefly then go ahead and hold for about 10 breaths, sinking deeply into the pose.
Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hips width distance apart. Press evenly throughout the feet to create a firm and stable foundation in the body. Tuck your tailbone slightly under and engage the core slightly. Bring your palms down by your sides and face your palms forward toward the front of the mat. Close down the eyes and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Stand firm in your foundation and breathe here for 20-30 counts.
Extended hand to big toe pose
Standing at the top of your mat, root firmly into the four corners of your right foot. On an inhale, bring your left knee into your chest. Grab the knee with your left hand and place your right hand on your hip. Stay here for a couple breaths, finding a fixed gaze on the ground to focus on. You can stay here, or go ahead and grab your left big toe with your peace fingers and extend the leg out long in front of you. Begin to bring the leg out to the left until it is by your side. Hold and breathe, still gripping the left toes for up to 10 breaths before returning back to center, coming back to stand and do the same on the right side.
From a standing position, root firmly into the four corners of your right foot. On an inhale take your left foot to the inside of your left thigh. If this doesn’t work for your body, you can place the foot on your calf. Engage your right thigh and press it back into the foot with equal force. Engage your core and bring your hands to prayer in heart center. Find a steady gaze and breathe slow and steady for 10-15 counts before coming back to stand and transitioning to the other side.
From a standing position, bring your right knee into your chest, and wrap it around the left leg as you sit back into a squatting position. Cross your left arm under your right and try to touch the palms together as close as they will come. Keep a long neutral spine and engaged core as you sit a little lower. Breathe here for 10 counts, slowly transitioning out when you are ready.
Stand at the top of your mat and bring a slight bend into the knees. Plant firmly through your right foot. Begin to bring your upper body parallel to the mat as you kick you left leg long behind you at hip height. Flex your left foot toward the mat and keep your hips squared to the floor. If the height of the leg is too much you can lower it or even kickstand the toes on your mat. Keep a strong core and bring your hands to heart center as you keep a steady gaze at a point on the ground in front of you. Hold and breathe for 5 counts until coming up to stand and switching sides when you are ready.