Yoga and Meditation

Yoga Poses That Improve Balance and Stability

What is the Difference between Balance and Stability? Balance refers to our ability to control our bodies against the forces of gravity while keeping ourselves still. On the other hand, stability refers to our ability to keep our bodies under control even while in motion. Yoga helps with both of these. Improving balance and stability decreases the risk of falls that lead to injuries. 

1. Tadasana: Mountain Pose

Instructions

Step 1

Stand with your big toes touching, heels slightly apart. Or, for more stability, stand with feet parallel, hip-width apart. Choose the option that feels better for you.

Step 2

Take a moment to feel the soles of your feet on the floor, on the mat, on the earth. Feel the connection, the firm foundation. Don’t lock your knees; make sure there is a slight bend in the knees.

Step 3

Draw the belly button in and up without puffing out the ribs. Draw shoulders back and slightly down. Feel your heart (chest) open. Allow your arms to relax beside your sides, palms facing inwards or forwards. Gaze out to the horizon line, chin parallel to the earth, and breathe.

2. Uttanasana: Forward Fold

Instructions

Step 1

Start by standing with your hands on your hips. With an exhale, bend your upper body forward from your hip joints. As your torso lowers, draw in your abdominal muscles and let your chest and pubis area open. Prioritize the lengthening of your upper body as you get closer to the standing forward bend.

Step 2

Keep your knees straight as you bend from your hip points. Bring your palms to the mat, touching it with your fingertips. Keep your arms in front of you or beside your feet and cross your elbows if you feel you cannot bring your arms forward. Deepen the pose by applying pressure onto your heels and lifting your backside towards the ceiling.

Step 3

Each time you take a breath, lengthen your torso and bring your upper body closer to the final position of the forward bend. When you slowly progress onto the forward bent, it is easier for your body to adapt and avoid discomfort, mainly when you synchronize your movements with your breathing cycle. Allow your neck to relax and your head to hang neutrally.

Step 4

Hold the pose for anywhere between 30 seconds and 1 minute. The standing forward pose is commonly used as a resting position between challenging standing poses, but it can also be practiced as a standalone asana.

Step 5

Release the pose by bringing your hands near your hip points and slowly pulling your torso up while keeping your spine straight. Press on your tailbone to help your upper body keep its form and come back up smoothly with an exhale.

3. Vrksasana: Tree Pose

Instructions

Step 1

Stand in Mountain Pose. Spread your toes, press your feet into the mat and firm your leg muscles. Raise your front hip points toward your lower ribs to gently lift your lower belly.

Step 2

Inhale deeply, lifting your chest, and exhale as you draw your shoulder blades down your back. Look straight ahead at a steady gazing spot. Place your hands on your hips and raise your right foot high onto your left thigh or shin. Avoid making contact with the knee.

Step 3

Press your right foot and left leg into each other. Check that your pelvis is level and squared to the front. When you feel steady, place your hands at the heart or stretch your arms overhead like branches reaching into the sun. Hold for several breaths, then step back into Mountain Pose and repeat on the other side.

4. Virabhadrasana II: Warrior II

Instructions

Step 1

Start in Mountain pose (Tadasana) at the top of your mat. Bring your hands to your hips, then take a step back with your left leg, turning the body and pointing your left toes to face the long edge of the mat.

Step 2

Look down at your feet and align the left heel with the right heel. Firm your thighs and press ground down through the four corners of your feet.

Step 3

Inhale and extend your arms parallel to the mat, palms facing down. Keep your shoulders relaxed and neck lengthened. 

Step 4

Exhale and bend the right knee, keeping the right thigh parallel to the mat and the knee just over the ankle. If you feel unstable in this position, adjust your stance or lift your right thigh higher until you feel grounded.

Step 5

Draw your lower belly in and up to lengthen your spine, making sure not to lean your torso to the left or right. Keep both sides of the body equally long, with the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Lengthen the tailbone down to the ground, and look over your right hand. Stay in the pose for 5-15 breaths, drawing strength from your legs and belly. To exit the pose, press onto both feet, inhale and straighten your legs. Repeat the same pose on the other side.

5. Utkatasana: Chair Pose

Instructions

Step 1

Begin standing with your feet hip’s width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body as if sitting in an invisible chair. Your thighs will be parallel to the floor.

Step 2

Lift your arms over your head in a parallel position with elbows straight and palms facing each other. Lower your shoulder blades away from your ears and down toward your hips, widening your shoulders as you do so. Keep the knees in line with the hips. Don’t let them splay out away from each other.

Step 3

Keep your chin parallel to the floor and elongate the back of your neck to lift the top of your head to the sky. Breathe. Let each exhalation draw the belly in to send the breath down into the thighs, legs, and feet.

Step 4

To release, return to standing while lowering the arms back down by your sides. Use your feet to initiate the action of standing, keeping the core engaged so as not to overtax the low back.

6. Trikonasana: Triangle Pose

Instructions

Step 1

Stand facing the long side of your mat with your feet about a leg distance apart. Turn your right foot out so your toes are pointing to the short edge of the mat and turn your left toes in, about 45 degrees. You are looking for stability through both legs. 

Step 2

Draw your lower belly in and up and lift your arms parallel to the floor. Inhale as you reach to the right extending your body over your right leg, shifting your hips towards the back of the mat. Exhale as you bring your right arm down, placing your hand either on the leg, the floor or a block. Rotate your ribs towards the ceiling. 

Step 3

Point the left arm straight up to the ceiling, hand in line with your shoulder, palm facing forward.  Lengthen through the sides of the neck, keeping your neck in line with your spine. Look straight ahead, or tuck the chin slightly and turn to look up towards your left hand. 

Step 4

To come out press your feet firmly into the floor, inhale, and reach your left arm up to the ceiling as you come back to standing straight. Pivot your heels and repeat on the other side. 

For more Fitness tips follow the Our Fitness Journey section of our blog.

>