Balance is essential. Without it, we wobble all over. Yoga is a great tool for improving our physical balance and regular practice also helps balance our lives in general.
In this blog we’ll look at 3 single-legged balance poses. These postures have a range of benefits. Physically, they strengthen major and minor muscle groups in the legs, helping avoid common problems such as weak ankles; the improve core strength; and they teach us to regulate our breathing.
Mentally and emotionally, they increase focus and concentration; give us a sense of achievement; and help promote calm, mindful movements.
If you’re new to single-legged balancing poses, don’t worry. It is normal to fall out! The point of practicing these postures is to always challenge ourselves to go a little bit further in our practice. That might mean holding the posture for three seconds, or for 90 seconds, depending on your level. How long doesn’t matter. It’s the effort that counts.
Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
In this pose you challenge your body to stand on one leg while maintaining a tall, straight posture like a tree. To begin, create a firm base by locking the knee of your standing leg, which activates your muscles and mind. Then you find your balance as you bring your other leg up. Once in the posture breathe deeply, extending your spine and growing upward with each breath.
Eagle pose (Garudasana)
Eagle pose is a balance posture that stretches all your muscles and joints. The ankle of your standing leg is working hard to keep your body connected and balanced, which strengthens the muscles in your lower leg and helps support the Achilles tendon. This is a challenging pose so start with a few seconds and gradually increase your time in the posture. Keep the weight evenly distributed on the foot and your hips straight. Wrapping the second leg creates a deep stretch in the muscles and connective tissue.
Standing bow pulling pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana)
Standing bow pulling pose builds balance, strength, flexibility and concentration. One particular challenge is keeping the hips level throughout the posture. To achieve this, begin square to the mirror, with your right hand holding your right ankle from the inside and left arm straight up, palm forward. As you kick back your body tilts forward. There should be a twist in the upper body, with your two shoulders coming into one line. Kick into the hand until you can see your foot in the mirror at the centre of your head. Keep the hips level to the ground. This pose is a continuous challenge so don’t be discouraged if you go up and come down multiple times. Just try!
What’s your favourite balancing pose? Share in the comments!