With the busyness of life, our bodies can get out of balance in more ways than one.  Balancing postures not only bring our bodies back into balance physically, but they can also have an affect on balancing the left and right sides of the brain. Standing postures strengthen our legs and cores, but also deepen our focus, coordination, and equilibrium.  Balance postures vary from day to day just as our balance in life varies.  As you challenge yourself on your yoga mat, the strength, focus, and confidence will carry off of the mat and out in to the world. Strong bodies and strong minds.

Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

Tree pose is a grounding posture for stability.  This standing pose engages muscles throughout the legs and improves sciatica.  The core is activated during this pose, lending to strengthening in the abdominals and back.  The grounding aspects of Tree Pose starts as the foot roots down on the mat then continues as you lengthen through the standing leg up throughout the core.  The final expression of the posture is to grow your arms upward like limbs.

Instructions:

  • Begin standing in Mountain Pose with feet parallel, hip width apart.
  • Ground into the Right Foot, finding stability on all four points, from front to back, left to right.
  • Lift the Left leg, bending the knee to place the sole of the foot against the inner thigh, toes pointing downward and knee facing to the side.
  • Hands are in prayer position at the center of your heart or outstretched overhead.
  • Make sure to not sink into the standing hip but continue to lift up through the legs and spine.
  • Hold for 5 breaths or longer.
  • Return to Mountain Pose.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Variations: Foot can be placed at the calf or inner thigh, as long as it is above or below the knee.

Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III):

Warrior 3 is a powerful balancing pose that lengthens the entire backside of the body while strengthening the standing leg and abdominals. This posture is a very active one engaging all of the muscles while building focus and endurance along with aligning the spine.

Instructions:

  • Start in Mountain Pose with feet parallel, hip width apart.
  • Inhale arms overhead, biceps reaching back towards ears.
  • Shoulder blades draw down the back.
  • Step forward with the right leg, keeping hips and shoulders square.
  • Lift the left leg, flexing through the heel.
  • Torso lowers parallel to the floor.
  • Lengthen through the arms and legs in opposite directions.
  • Hips remain in line, flattening the low back.
  • Continue to breath and stabilize in this pose for 5 breaths or longer.
  • Release the left leg down then step back together in Mountain Pose.
  • Repeat on the other side.

By Kristi Grosse, RYT

 

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