Improving Stability and Balance with Yoga

Yoga offers a wide variety of benefits for people of all ages and at all levels of athletic and physical ability. One way it’s especially beneficial is in improving balance and stability which are necessary to reduce your risk of falling, strengthen your core muscles to reduce chronic pain, and minimize the risk of injury. To help you, we’re sharing some balancing yoga postures that will go beyond improving your physical stability, it can also help increase and improve focus and mental clarity, too.

4 Balancing Yoga Postures for Beginners

Whether you’re just starting with yoga or you’ve been practicing for years, these poses are designed to improve your balance by increasing your spatial awareness, strengthening the muscles in your core, and improving your coordination. However, we specifically chose four balancing yoga postures that are suitable for every skill level rather than choosing complicated poses that could lead to an injury for someone unfamiliar.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Mountain Pose looks very simple like you’re simply standing still, but it’s a very active pose that uses every muscle in your body as well as aligns your posture and increases your focus. It’s also the pose from which many other standing poses originate so you’ll definitely want to do this correctly.

  • Stand with your feet together and parallel, pressing your weight consistently through the balls and arches of your feet.
  • Lift your toes and spread them out, resting them out on the mat while grounding your feet, feeling them press evenly into the floor. This engages the muscles in your lower legs.
  • Bend your knees slightly to strengthen your thighs and tighten your lower abdominal muscles to bring your pelvis to a neutral position .
  • As you exhale, lengthen your torso and draw your shoulders back, keeping them in line with your body, with your arms straight, palms out, and triceps firm.
  • Your body should be in alignment as you keep your breathing smooth and even, holding this balancing yoga pose for up to one minute.

Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior II strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles while opening your chest and improving your focus. This stability exercise also increases your stamina gently and is easy to customize depending on your skill level.

  • Start in Mountain Pose and as you exhale, step your right foot forward, keeping your feet three to four feet apart. Raise your arms to create a straight line from your shoulders, actively reaching with your palms open and facing down with your right arm pointed straight and your left arm behind you.
  • Turn your left foot out to the left at a 90 degree angle and angle your right foot out to the right slightly, taking care to align your left heel directly behind your right heel.
  • Turn your right thigh so your knee is aligned over the center of your ankle and bend the right knee so your shin is perpendicular to the floor. If you can, lower to where your left thigh is parallel to the floor and anchor yourself by pressing your left heel firmly into your mat or the floor.
  • Hold this pose for up to one minute.

Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)

Downward facing dog stretches your shoulders and legs, elongates your spine, and is a gentle balancing yoga pose that prepares you to move into a plank pose.

  • Start on all fours, keeping your knees slightly behind your hips, your hands shoulder-width apart and your fingers spread wide. As you inhale, press your fingers into the mat and lift your knees up from the floor and straightening your legs.
  • Your shoulders should be actively inward and rolled down your back as you lengthen your spine and keep your abdomen firm and pulled inward.
  • Keep your legs as straight as you can (though beginners may need to slightly bend their legs) as you anchor your heels toward the floor. Think of your body like an upside-down V shape.

Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

The plank pose has received a lot of attention the past few years because it quickly works all the core muscles. When you need a stability exercise, the plank pose should certainly be one you’re doing regularly because it also helps build endurance. However, it’s important to do it correctly to avoid putting too much strain on your wrists or other joints and bones.

  • Starting in Downward Facing Dog, shift your weight forward until your shoulders are directly over your wrists and your arms are straight.
  • Avoid letting your hips dip downward, as you will want to keep your legs straight and your weight on your hands and the balls of your feet.
  • Pull your abdomen up and in to engage your core and keep your spine and torso straight from your heels to your shoulders.

Learn More Balancing Yoga Poses and Join Us for a Yoga Class in Smithfield

Make sure you’re learning the poses properly and get professional instruction by joining a yoga class at our Smithfield studio today. Check out our class schedule or call us at  919-971-1431 to learn more about which options may be right for you!

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