Asanas · Practice

Standing Balance Yoga Postures

Below are easy to follow guidelines to establish a safe and effective balancing practice paired with postures commonly found in any Yoga class. We will start with Tadasana, Mountain Pose as it serves as the blueprint needed to achieve balance physically, mentally and energetically.

Tadasana

Mountain Pose
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
  • Bring feet parallel, toes pointing straight ahead.
  • Firm the big toe, center heel and middle point on the pinky edge of your foot to avoid any collapse in the arches.
  • Knees point straight ahead and thighs firm.
  • Low abdomen draws in, pubis draws upward towards the navel as the tailbone lengthens down and in.
  • Relax shoulder blades down the back and gaze straight ahead. *A basic rule of thumb is the head, heart, hips and heels are all aligned one atop the other.
  • Feel the spirit of sthira sukha, steadiness and ease.
  • Now you are read to balance!

Vriksasana

Tree Pose
Vriksasana
Tree Pose
  • Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose (as described above).
  • Bring hands to waist for steadiness and support.
  • Maintain Tadasana in the right leg and place the left foot to the mid-calf or guide it with the left hand up to the inner right thigh.
    *Avoid placing foot on knee.
  • Press left foot into right leg and the right leg into the foot bringing energy to the midline.
  • Hands join at the heart, gaze falls to a point right above eye level.
  • When ready, stretch arms overhead and return to the breath. *Work towards 5 breaths on each side.
  • To come out, hands return to waist, turn the left knee forward and return to the left foot to Tadasana.
  • Take a moment of stillness to feel and observe yourself before the second side.

Virabradrasana III

Warrior Pose III
Virabradrasana III
Warrior Pose III
  • Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose.
  • Bring hands to waist and find a small bend in both legs.
  • Shift weight into the right foot and step back with the left foot approx. 3 ft.
  • Firm the right thigh back to straighten the right leg.
  • Hips remain square as the left leg lifts paralell with the floor. Press back through the left foot as if it were still in Tadasana – foot flexed and toes point straight down to the earth.
  • Stretch the trunk forward bringing the heart, hips and left heel onto the same plane.
  • Reach both arms forward and take the biceps alongside the ears.
  • Thumbs point up and palms face the midline.
  • Gaze at one point beyond the hands and breathe.
  • To come out, return hands to waist, lightly lower the toes to the earth and step the left foot forward into Tadasana.
  • Take a moment of stillness to feel and observe yourself before the second side.

Garudasana

Eagle Pose
Garudasana
Eagle Pose
  • Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose.
  • Bring hands to waist and find a small bend in both legs.
  • Shift weight into the right foot, pick up the left thigh up and cross it over the right.
  • Continue to wrap left leg around the right and place the left shin and top of left foot behind the right calf.
    *If this is not accessible, lower the left toes to the pinky side of the right foot.
  • Extend the arms forward, parallel with the earth.
  • Wrap right arm underneath left, stack the elbows and bring the palms to together. *If the palms don’t touch, press back of the hands together.
  • Take the shoulder blades down the back and lift the elbows in line with the shoulders.
  • Forearms draw away from the body, perpendicular to the earth.
  • Hug muscle to bone, drawing everything into the midline.
  • Find a steady gaze and breath.
  • To release, slowly unwind the legs and arms and return to Tadasana,
  • Take a moment of stillness to feel and observe yourself before the second side.

Natarajasana

Dancer Pose
Natarajasana
Dancer Pose
  • Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose.
  • Shift weight into right foot (maintain Tadasana in right leg, hips and pelvis), bend at the left knee bringing heel to the glute.
  • Left palm opens away from the body to clasp the inside of the left foot or ankle. *Beginners can try holding onto the pinky side of the foot or ankle.
  • Knees come together to touch, squaring off the hips and pelvis. *You will notice the left (lifted leg) wants to open out to the side, so be sure to keep the pelvis facing forward even as you move deeper into the pose for proper alignment and safety in the knee joint.
  • Extend the right arm forward bringing it parallel with the earth and turn the thumb up towards the sky.
  • Press the left foot into the left hand to raise the left thigh parallel to the earth and to create an uplift in the chest forming a bow shape with the left leg and torso. *Keep the low abdomen and tailbone moving in to protect the lower back.
  • Find a steady gaze and breath.
  • To release, come out slowly in the same respect you came into the pose and find Tadasana.
  • Take a moment of stillness to feel and observe yourself before the second side.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A

Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
  • Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose.
  • Shift weight into right foot bringing the left knee towards the belly.
  • Interlace fingers around left shin and find steadiness. *For beginners this could be your practice before moving on to full extension in the raised leg.
  • Transfer the right hand to the right waist and bring your first two fingers (peace fingers) around the left big toe.
  • Maintain an uplifted chest (heart and head over the hips), a square pelvis and a strong standing leg as the left leg extends away from the body straight ahead. *It is more important to keep a tall spine and uplifted chest than to extend the leg and create a hunch shape through the upper body. If this happens, keep a bend in your lifted leg and gradually work towards extension honoring the body’s process.
  • Steady the gaze and breath.
  • To release, maintain uplift in the left leg and bring left hand to left waist.
  • Slowly lower the left foot next to the right and stand in Tadasana.
  • Take a moment of stillness to feel and observe yourself before the second side.

Ardha Chandrasana

Half-Moon Pose
Ardha Chandrasana
Half-Moon Pose
  • Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. *Beginners or those needing support, have a block ready at the top right corner of your yoga mat.
  • Step back with your left foot approx. 3 1/2 feet.
  • Keep the right foot pointing straight ahead and turn the left foot out at a 45 degree angle finding heel to heel alignment.
  • Bring a slight bend to the right knee and left hand to left waist.
  • Right hand transfers to the floor or a yoga block 6-8inches forward and slightly to the right of the right foot.
  • Press the right hand down and the right thigh straight back to propel the left leg away from the earth.
  • Point the left toes to the side wall to roll the left hip open and stack the hips.
  • Flex the left foot drawing actively out through the heel and ball mound.
  • Reach the left arm up to the sky creating a T shape between the arms. The left palm opens to face the side wall.
  • Keep the abdomen moving in for strength and, in time, the hips, heart and head are all on the same plane facing the side wall.
  • Find a steady gaze and breath. *The gaze begins at the earth and as balance develops can draw straight ahead or upward to the extended thumb.
  • To release, return left hand to left waist, micro bend the right knee and mindfully step the left foot back to it’s starting point behind the right.
  • Stand upright and bring right hand to right waist.
  • Turn the left heel up and the pelvis to face forward.
  • Step the left foot to meet the right and stand in Tadasana.
  • Take a moment of stillness to feel and observe yourself before the second side.

Remember, it is about the journey not the destination so have fun building your balancing practice. Take it step by step and with practice and presence it will come.




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