Balancing Poses


YOGA VIDA
Posture Center

TREE POSE

English/Sanskrit Tree Pose, Vrksasana

Level Basic

Alignment From Tadasana, lift one knee into your chest. Open your knee out to the side, and place your foot high on the inner thigh of the opposite leg. Place hands in prayer at the front of your chest. Lift your chest up, and keep your standing leg engaged and straight.

Modifications FIf you're feeling unstable, keep your toes on the floor, and lift your heel up to your ankle. Balance will be steadier with more points of contact on the floor.

Do not perform if experiencing serious knee or ankle injuries.

For flat feet, accentuate the lifting of inner arch. Feel more pressure in the outer edge of your foot and anchor the big toe joint down into the mat.

Benefits Strengthens ankles and legs. Develops stability, grounding, balance, confidence, and focus.
Posture Center

TREE POSE VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Tree Pose Variation, Vrksasana

Level Basic

Alignment From Tadasana, lift one knee into your chest. Open your knee out to the side, and place your foot high on the inner thigh of the opposite leg. Place hands in prayer at the front of your chest. Lift your chest up, and keep your standing leg engaged and straight.

Modifications If you're feeling unstable, keep your toes on the floor, and lift your heel up to your ankle, as shown here. Balance will be steadier with more points of contact on the floor.

Do not perform if experiencing serious knee or ankle injuries.

For a rounded spine, pull chest forward with lengthened arms working on moving the shoulders away from the ears and down the back.

For hyperextension place micro-bends in knees, shift weight forward a bit and lift sitz-bones up.

Do not perform if experiencing glaucoma, hamstring injuries, or spinal disk disorders.

Benefits Strengthens ankles and legs. Develops stability, grounding, balance, confidence, and focus.
Posture Center

WARRIOR 3

English/Sanskrit Warrior 3, Virabhadrasana 3

Level Advanced

Alignment From Tadasana, draw one knee into your chest. Keep your arms along side your body, and reach down through your fingertips. Bend your standing knee, and start to tilt forward until your torso is parallel to the floor. Square your hips and extend both legs. Reach your chest and chin forward, release your shoulders away from your ears, flex your back foot, and reach through your back heel.

Modifications If you're feeling unstable, place a block on the highest setting under each hand in line with your shoulders or come up to your fingertips.

For added shoulder opening, interlace your fingers behind your back.

For hyperextension, place a micro-bend in both legs.

Benefits Strengthens arches, ankles and legs, tones core, and strengthens shoulders and back muscles. Develops balance and grounding.
Posture Center

SIDE PLANK

English/Sanskrit Side Plank, Vashisthasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Downward Facing Dog, roll forward to the top of a push-up with shoulders over wrists. Roll onto the outer edge of one foot, stack your feet, and flex your toes. Lift the top arm straight up, making one line from wrist to wrist. Squeeze your inner thighs, and lift your hips away from the floor. Draw the navel in and lengthen tailbone toward heels. Broaden across your chest and gaze up at your top fingers.

Modifications If feeling fatigued, lower bottom elbow and rest on forearm.

For shoulder issues, lower your bottom knee to the floor.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in thebottom elbow and press down through your index finger.

Benefits Strengthens wrists, arms, shoulders, legs and abdomen. Develops balance. Neutralizes spine.
Posture Center

SIDE PLANK VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Side Plank Variation, Vashisthasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Downward Facing Dog, roll forward to the top of a push-up with shoulders over wrists. Roll onto the outer edge of one foot, stack your feet, and flex your toes. Lift the top arm straight up, making one line from wrist to wrist. Squeeze your inner thighs, and lift your hips away from the floor. Draw the navel in and lengthen tailbone toward heels. Broaden across your chest and gaze up at your top fingers.

Modifications If feeling fatigued, lower bottom elbow and rest on forearm, as shown here.

For shoulder issues, lower your bottom knee to the floor.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in thebottom elbow and press down through your index finger.

Benefits Strengthens wrists, arms, shoulders, legs and abdomen. Develops balance. Neutralizes spine.
Posture Center

SIDE PLANK VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Side Plank Variation, Vashisthasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Downward Facing Dog, roll forward to the top of a push-up with shoulders over wrists. Roll onto the outer edge of one foot, stack your feet, and flex your toes. Lift the top arm straight up, making one line from wrist to wrist. Squeeze your inner thighs, and lift your hips away from the floor. Draw the navel in and lengthen tailbone toward heels. Broaden across your chest and gaze up at your top fingers.

Modifications If feeling fatigued, lower bottom elbow and rest on forearm.

For shoulder issues, lower your bottom knee to the floor, as shown here.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in thebottom elbow and press down through your index finger.

Benefits Strengthens wrists, arms, shoulders, legs and abdomen. Develops balance. Neutralizes spine.
Posture Center

STANDING SPLIT

English/Sanskrit Standing Split, Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana

Level Flow

Alignment From a Lunge, come onto fingertips, lift chest and lengthen side ribs. Shift weight into front foot and lift back leg up. Walk hands forward, lift chest and square hips, keeping equal space on both sides of torso. Fold forward and walk hands back in line with standing foot. Relax neck and head, reach through the ball of the lifted foot, and squeeze inner thighs into midline.

Modifications If standing leg won’t straighten, place a block under each hand and extend leg.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in the standing knee and the lifted leg.

Do not perform if experiencing serious lower back, ankle, or knee problems.

Benefits Strengthens and stretches legs, and stimulates liver and kidneys. Develops grounding and balance.
Posture Center

HALF MOON POSE

English/Sanskrit Half Moon Pose, Ardha Chandrasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Extended Side Angle, place your top hand on your top hip. Step your back foot in a bit, and walk your front hand forward about a foot. Shift weight into your front foot, and lift your back leg up. Keep your hips open, extend your legs, and flex your back foot. Keep the bottom foot at a 90 degree angle. Reach your top arm up to make one straight line from wrist to wrist. Look up at the top thumb.

Modifications To bring more awareness to the lifted leg, try this at the wall. Start in a short Extended Side Angle about a legs-width distance away from the wall with your front foot facing away from the wall. Walk your bottom hand forward. You may also place the bottom hand on a block to allow for more length in the spine. Shift into front foot and lift back leg up. Keep hips open and press back foot firmly into the wall.

For hyperextension, take a micro-bend in the standing knee and shift the weight forward slightly.

If you're feeling unstable, keep looking down at your bottom foot, and keep your top hand on the top hip.

If you're falling into your front hand and shortening the side ribs, use a block under your bottom hand to maintain length and lift off the standing hip.

Benefits Stretches groins, inner hamstring, and chest. Strengthens ankles, legs, and spine. Develops balance.
Posture Center

EXTENDED HAND-TO-BIG-TOE-POSE

English Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe-Pose, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

Level Avanced

Alignment From Tadasana, bend one knee into your chest, and grab the big toe with your peace fingers. Squeeze your waist with the opposite hand, draw shoulder blades down and across your back, and extend your lifted leg forward, reaching through the heel. Draw your navel in and keep your hips level.

Modifications If you're feeling unstable, keep your standing leg straight and hug the other knee into your chest. Work on balance.

For a rounded spine, keep lifted leg bent and work on drawing shoulders down and back. Keep standing leg extended and steady.

Benefits Strengthens legs and abdominal muscles. Stretches hamstrings. Develops grounding, focus and balance.
Posture Center

DANCER'S POSE

English Dancer’s Pose, Natarajasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Tadasana, bend one knee back in space and grab the inside of your ankle with the same hand. Reach your other arm up alongside your ear, and lift your chest. Press the lifted foot back in space, lift the knee and tilt your chest forward, making space between the foot and the sacrum. Modifications For hyperextension, grab the outside of your ankle for less pressure on the elbow joint.

Benefits Strengthens and stretches legs, especially quadriceps. Stretches shoulders and chest. Develops balance.
Posture Center

EAGLE POSE

English/Sanskrit Eagle Pose, Garudasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Tadasana, bend both knees slightly. Bend one knee into your chest and double wrap that leg around the other leg, hooking toe-tips around the calf. Reach your arms out to the sides, and then double wrap your arms. If you're standing on the left leg, wrap the left elbow over the right, and vice versa. Press your palms together and lift your elbows up until they're in line with your shoulders. Bend your knees and sit your hips back. Modifications If legs or arms don’t double wrap, maintain posture as much as possible.

If you're feeling unstable, touch your toe tips to the floor instead of wrapping your foot around your calf. This will help to balance.

Benefits Strengthens ankles and legs. Develops balance and concentration. Opens and broadens shoulders.
Posture Center

CROW POSE

English/Sanskrit Crow Pose, Bakasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Utkatasana, lower your hands to the floor, shoulder-width distance apart and about 1½ feet forward. Lift onto the balls of your feet. Bring your heels together, and turn your toes out slightly. Bring your knees as high up as possible onto the backs of your arms. Squeeze your knees in, press into your hands, and come onto your tiptoes. Lift your hips and shift your weight forward. Lift one foot up at a time, pressing arms back into knees, and pull your chin forward. Lift your heels higher and extend your arms. Modifications If you're feeling unstable, place a block on the medium setting under your head and practice balancing.

If hips won’t lift high enough, step your feet on a block, and lift one knee up at a time, balancing on the hands.

Benefits Strengthens arms, wrists and abdomen. Develops balance and stability.
Posture Center

CROW POSE VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Crow Pose Variation, Bakasana

Level Avanced

Alignment From Utkatasana, lower your hands to the floor, shoulder-width distance apart and about 1½ feet forward. Lift onto the balls of your feet. Bring your heels together, and turn your toes out slightly. Bring your knees as high up as possible onto the backs of your arms. Squeeze your knees in, press into your hands, and come onto your tiptoes. Lift your hips and shift your weight forward. Lift one foot up at a time, pressing arms back into knees, and pull your chin forward. Lift your heels higher and extend your arms.

Modifications If you're feeling unstable, place a block on the medium setting under your head and practice balancing, as shown here.

If hips won’t lift high enough, step your feet on a block, and lift one knee up at a time, balancing on the hands.

Benefits Strengthens arms, wrists and abdomen. Develops balance and stability.
Posture Center

CROW POSE VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Crow Pose Variation, Bakasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Utkatasana, lower your hands to the floor, shoulder-width distance apart and about 1½ feet forward. Lift onto the balls of your feet. Bring your heels together, and turn your toes out slightly. Bring your knees as high up as possible onto the backs of your arms. Squeeze your knees in, press into your hands, and come onto your tiptoes. Lift your hips and shift your weight forward. Lift one foot up at a time, pressing arms back into knees, and pull your chin forward. Lift your heels higher and extend your arms.

Modifications If you're feeling unstable, place a block on the medium setting under your head and practice balancing.

If hips won’t lift high enough, step your feet on a block, and lift one knee up at a time, balancing on the hands, as shown here.

Benefits Strengthens arms, wrists and abdomen. Develops balance and stability.
Posture Center

CROW POSE VARIATION

English/Sanskrit Crow Pose Variation, Bakasana

Level Advanced

Alignment From Utkatasana, lower your hands to the floor, shoulder-width distance apart and about 1½ feet forward. Lift onto the balls of your feet. Bring your heels together, and turn your toes out slightly. Bring your knees as high up as possible onto the backs of your arms. Squeeze your knees in, press into your hands, and come onto your tiptoes. Lift your hips and shift your weight forward. Lift one foot up at a time, pressing arms back into knees, and pull your chin forward. Lift your heels higher and extend your arms.

Modifications If you're feeling unstable, place a block on the medium setting under your head and practice balancing.

If hips won’t lift high enough, step your feet on a block, and lift one knee up at a time, balancing on the hands, as shown here.

Benefits Strengthens arms, wrists and abdomen. Develops balance and stability.