Yoga Poses to Improve Balance

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Yoga is great for many things. It helps to increase muscular endurance and flexibility, reconnect your body and mind as well as improve balance.

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#1: Downward Dog + Leg Lift
Downward dog is a standard pose in any yoga routine. It in itself can help your balance, but if you want an extra challenge, try adding a leg lift.

How you do it: Begin in downward dog (create an upside down “V” shape with your body). Once you feel stable in this position and able to keep your weight evenly distributed, lift one leg up. Go as far as your body feels comfortable, if it’s only a few inches off the ground that’s fine. Hold this pose for a few breaths and then release the leg down. Center your body again in downward dog for a breath or two. Then repeat on the other side. Make sure your breath is even throughout the practice.

#2: Chair w/ a Twist
The chair pose is another common pose in yoga. Adding the twist will improve balance and it can also improve digestion and organ function.

How you do it: Begin by planting your feet side by side, arms at your side. On an inhale lift your arms up and exhale as you sink your pelvis to the floor, almost in a squat position. This is chair position. Inhale again and twist your torso to the side, your lower elbow on the outside of your thigh, and hands pressed together in a prayer fashion. Your upper arm should be bent as well, creating a diamond shape between your two arms. Hold this position for four to five breaths, keeping your body centered. Slowly release back into chair and center your body again. Repeat by twisting to the other side.

#3: Tree
Tree pose is a great position to really test your balance. You may find that one side of your body has an easier time balancing than the other and that’s perfectly normal.

How you do it: Begin with your feet planted together. On an inhale lift your arms up and bring on leg up as well, planting the sole of your foot on your calf or thigh, depending how high you feel comfortable going. Your leg should more or less be parallel to the floor ideally. Hold for a few breaths and release. Switch sides and hold for another few breaths.

#4: Warrior 3
Warrior 3 is the third main variation of the warrior sequence. It is more challenging than Warriors 1 & 2, but is great to test your balance.

How you do it: Begin with your feet planted. On an inhale reach one leg back as far as is comfortable for your body and tilt your torso down, creating a long line with your body. Ideally your leg and body would be parallel to the floor. Your arms can be lengthened at your side or straight out in front of you. Center your body and hold the pose for a few breaths, then slowly release. Repeat on the other side.

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