BALANCE YOGA POSES






BALANCE YOGA POSES :
Often the hardest poses to do in yoga, we need to remind ourselves that balance poses are about “getting back on that horse”. Falling is inevitable. Their purpose is to teach us how to focus, persist and persevere with grace and humility. Balance poses challenge us to combine strength and relaxation, to balance the body and mind. The difference between balance poses and all other asanas is the amount of focus they require. They demand our full concentration, to balance our effort and awareness drawing us into the present moment. They develop our core strength and tone our legs and arms. They also improve our coordination, posture and confidence.





Eagle Pose in Handstand / Garudasana in Adho Mukha Vrksasana

(gah-rue-DAHS-anna AH-doh MOO-kah vrik-SHAHS-anna)

garuda = a fierce bird of prey, the vehicle (vahana) of Vishnu
adho mukha = having the face downward
vrksa = tree

1.  From Downward Facing Dog keep your arms straight and locked with your fingers spread and pointed forward. Grab the ground and gaze at the floor between your hands.

2. Bend your knees so that you are almost in a full squat. Using just enough power from the squat, (using too much power will cause you to fall backwards), push forward bringing your hips and buttocks up over your wrists and shoulders which are now aligned and perpendicular to the ground. Straighten your legs in the air keeping your legs together. Point and spread your toes.

3. Bend your right leg and wrap it around your left.  Bend your left leg slightly so that your right foot can wrap around your left calf muscle.

Preparation
1. Practice all techniques against a wall to begin with. Before attempting Handstands practice Headstands and Peacock Feather Pose first in order to get comfortable with being steady in an inverted position.

2. From Downward Facing Dog start by kicking one foot off the ground bringing the other one with it.  Work your way up until you can kick into a handstand. From Downward Facing Dog practice jumping up from your squat until your hips and buttocks up over your wrists and shoulders until you can hold that position with your legs bent until you find your balance.

3. Practice Eagle Pose in a sitting or standing position.

4.Practice Eagle Pose in a Headstand or Peacock Feather pose before attempting it in a Handstand.

Benefits
- Strengthens your wrists, arms, shoulders, back, core and legs
- Stretches knees and ankles
- Stimulates blood circulation
- Calms the nervous system.

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist, shoulder, knee or back injury
- Do not perform if you have a heart condition high blood pressure
- Be cautious if you have a headache.

 


 




Bound Half Lotus Tip-Toe Pose / Ardha Baddha Padma Padangusthasana

(ARD-hah BAH-dah PAHD-ma)

ardha = half
baddha = bound
padma = lotus
padangustha = big toe

1. Squat down bringing your buttocks to your heels. Your heels will automatically rise off the floor as you balance on your toes.  Straighten your spine.

2. Balancing yourself on the tips of your right fingers, grab your right foot with your left hand and bring the top of your right foot to the top of your left thigh so that you are in half lotus balancing on your left toes.

3.  Lower your left hand to the ground and shift your weight to your left fingertips.  Swing your right arm behind your back and grab onto your right toes.

4.  When you find your balance straighten your spine and raise your left hand from the ground and straighten it straight out to the side so that it is parallel to the ground.  Lengthen your neck and gaze forward.

Benefits
- Stretches your legs, ankles, feet, hips and groins
- Strengthens your ankles and core

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have an ankle, knee or hip injury

Challenge
Start in Tree Pose in Half Lotus with your right arm behind your back grabbing onto your right toes slowly lowering down to a squatting position balancing on your left toes and supporting yourself with your left hand before raising it to the side if you need to.

 


 

 


Inverted Peacock Pose / Urdhva Mayurasana

(OORD-vah   my-yer-ahs-anna)

urdhva = upward
mayura = peacock

1. From a kneeling position place your hands on the ground in front of you shoulder distance apart with your fingers pointing forward. Spread your fingers and grab the ground.

2. Lean forward bending your elbows and squeezing your ribcage with your upper arms. Place your chin on the ground between your hands in front of your fingertips.

3. Lift your knees off the floor so that you are balancing on your toes. Shift your weight forward so that your center of gravity is over your hands. Remember to squeeze your chest with your upper arms.

4. Without putting too much pressure on your chin kick one foot up at a time and straighten your legs until they are directly over your hips. Point and spread your toes.

5. Try to hold the pose for at least 5 seconds gradually increasing the time as you gain strength and balance. Bend your knees and lower your feet to the floor to come out of the pose.

Benefits
- Strengthens the wrists and arms
- Strengthens the core
- Improves balance and coordination

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Pregnancy
- Low blood pressure

 


 

 

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Bakasana / Crane pose

(bahk-AHS-anna) ?
baka = crane

1. From a squatted position on your tip toes, place your feet approximately hip distance apart and place your hands in front of you shoulder width apart with your fingertips facing forward.

2. Straighten your arms and lean your knees into your armpits above your triceps.

3. To prepare, shift your weight forwards onto your hands and try lifting one foot at a time off the floor.

4. When you are ready lean forward and lift both feet off the floor. Keep your gaze to the ground just past your fingertips.

5. Using your core lift your tailbone and hips into the air and bring your heels as close to your buttocks as you can.

Benefits
- Strengthens arms, wrists, abdominals
- Improves balance
- Stretches the spine

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Pregnancy

 


 



Side Cock Pose (Prep.) / Parsva Kukktasana

(Pars-vah coo-coo-TAHS-anna)

parsva = side
kukkuta = rooster

1. From a kneeling position place your hands on the floor shoulder width apart with your fingertips facing forwards. Bring the crown of your head to the ground as in tripod headstand position. Keep your arms bent at a 90 degree angle, and place the majority of your weight in your hands.

2. Lift up into headstand position. Variation: To decrease difficulty, use the support of the wall behind you to help you balance.

3.  Bend your right knee first and bring your legs into full lotus position in the air. Variation: Stay in a cross-legged position if you are unable to do full lotus completely.

4. Carefully rotate your torso and twist your knees in full lotus as much as you are able to the right side. Using your core strength lower your left knee so that it reaches your right elbow.

5. Practice again on the left side.

Benefits
- Strengthens the spine, abdominals, and arms
- Stretches the knees and hips
- Improves concentration and balance

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee or back injury
- Pregnancy, menstruation
- High blood pressure

 


 




Garland Pose / Malasana

(mal-AHS-ana)

mala = garland

1. From Tadasana, lift your arms out in front of you at shoulder height, keeping your arms parallel to the floor.

2. Engaging your core and bending your knees, lower all the way down so that your chest is knee level.

3. Lift your heels off the floor (if they haven’t raised naturally already) for better balance. Place your hands on the ground in front of you with your knees on the outside of your elbows.

4. Reaching forward with your right arm lock your right shin in your right armpit. Rotate your arm to the back bringing your hand as close to your spine as possible. Repeat with your left arm, locking your left shin with your left armpit. Rotating your left arm backward grasp onto your right hand. (Use a towel between your hands if they do not reach and work your hands as close together as possible.)

4. Stay in the pose for 15 seconds to a minute and slowly stand back up with control, or place your hands back down to the floor and hop into Chaturanga Dandasana to exit the pose.

Benefits
- Improves balance and concentration
- Strengthens ankles
- Strengthens core
- Stretches shoulders

Cautions
- Ankle injury
- Pregnancy

 


 




Two Handed Arm Balance / Dwi Hasta Bhujasana

(dwee has-TAH buj-AHS-anna)

dwi = two
hasta = hands

1. Start in Tadasana with your feet hip distance apart. Bend forward and take your right shoulder and place it under your right knee. Take your left shoulder and place it under your left.

2. Take your hands and place them on the outside of your feet, palms flat on the floor and fingertips facing forwards.

3. With control, carefully bend your arms and knees and shift your weight back into your arms. You should feel the natural tendency for your legs to lift up as you shift your center of gravity. Try to get your tailbone low and pointing downwards towards the ground.

4. Lift your feet up off the ground simultaneously a couple of inches straighten your arms. Variation: try lifting one leg off the ground at a time until you feel stable enough to try them both. Squeeze your inner thighs together against your upper arms to help you stabilize.

5. Keep your gaze forwards and touch your big toes together as you balance on your arms. Try to maintain the pose for 15-30 seconds. Lower down to the floor with control to exit the pose.

Benefits
- Strengthens the arms and wrists
- Improves balance and focus
- Stretches and strengthens hamstrings

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Shoulder Injury

 


 



Handstand (Prep) / Adho Mukha Vrksasana

(AH-doh MOO-kah vrik-SHAHS-anna)

adho mukha = Having the face downward
vrksa = tree

1. From Full Forward Bend place your palms on the ground about 6 inches in front of your toes. Keep your arms straight and locked with your shoulders over your wrists and your fingers spread and pointed forward. Grab the ground and gaze at the floor between your hands.

2. Keep your legs strong and straight.

3. Lean forward until your shoulders are above your fingertips. Engage your core fully and lift your hips and buttocks into the air raising your heels off the ground until your toes are almost off the floor.

Benefits
- Stretches the back of your legs
- Strengthens your wrists, arms, shoulders, back and abdomen

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist or back injury

 


 

 

One-Legged Balance Pose I / Eka Pada Koundinyasana I

(EK-ah PAH-dah koon-din-YAHS-anna)

eka = one
pada = foot
Koundinya = sage Koundinya, Vedic scholar and a descendent of Vasihta

1. Squat with your buttocks resting on your heels with your heels off the ground. Keep your spine straight with the crown of your head reaching for the ceiling.

2. Inhale raising your arms over your head.  Exhale and twist from your waist to the right placing your hand on the floor to the outside of your right thigh shoulder width apart.  Your right triceps will be pressed against your right hip and your left triceps placed against your right knee.

3. Lowering your chest slowly to the ground and bending your arms, bring your right hip and right knee onto your triceps. Looking forward bring your feet off the floor keeping your legs bent and your knees and ankles together.  Slowly bring the crown of your head to the ground.

4. Straighten your legs to the left and point and spread your toes.  Now take your left leg and point it to the back of the room pointing and spreading your toes.  At this point you will be balancing on your head and two hands.

6. Slowly raise you head off the ground and straighten your neck gazing at a focal point on the floor.

Benefits
- Strengthens your core, legs, arms and wrists

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist or lower back injury

 


 



One-Legged Balance / Eka Pada Galavasana

(EK-ah PAH-dah gah-lah-VAHS-anna)

eka = one
pada = foot
Galava = sage Galava

1. Squatting on your toes place your hands in front of you in between your knees shoulder width apart, fingers spread and facing forward.

2.  Bend your elbows and place the top of your shins as close to your armpits as you can. Lean forward lifting your feet from the ground balancing your knees on your triceps.

3. Once you find your balance lean forward and place the crown of your head on the ground.

4. Rotate your left foot inward and place it in the crook of your left armpit while releasing your left knee from the same place.

5. Now straighten your left leg to the back of the room, pointing and spreading your toes.  At this point you will be balancing on your head and two hands.

6. Slowly raise you head off the ground and straighten your neck gazing at a focal point on the floor.

Benefits
- Strengthens your core, legs, arms and wrists

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist, knee, hip or lower back injury

 


 



One-Legged Balance Pose for Galavasana (Variation) / Eka Pada Galavasana

(EK-ah PAH-dah gah-lah-VAHS-anna)

eka = one
pada = foot
Galava = sage Galava

1. Squatting on your toes place your hands in front of you in between your knees shoulder width apart, fingers spread and facing forward.

2.  Bend your elbows and place the top of your shins as close to your armpits as you can. Lean forward lifting your feet from the ground balancing your knees on your triceps.

3. Once you find your balance lean forward and place the crown of your head on the ground.

4. Rotate your left foot inward and place it in the crook of your left armpit while releasing your left knee from the same place.

5. Now straighten your left leg to the back of the room, pointing and spreading your toes.  At this point you will be balancing on your head and two hands.

6. Slowly raise you head off the ground and straighten your neck gazing at a focal point on the floor.

7. Lean forward while lifting your buttocks, hips and left leg in the air engaging your abdominals and pushing up through your right leg by opening up the angle between your thigh and calf – as well as by bringing (inching) your right foot closer to your left elbow.

Benefits
- Strengthens your core, legs, arms and wrists

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist, knee, hip or lower back injury

 


 




Balance dedicated to Kasyapa / Kasyapasana

(kahs-yah-PAHS-anna)

Kashyapa = an ancient Hindu sage

1. Start in plank position. Be sure that your hands are slightly in front of your shoulders, your core is engaged and your pelvis is tucked in. Engage your legs.

2. Simultaneously, roll your weight to the outside edge of your left foot and the inside edge of your right foot.  As you shift your weight, lift your right arm up to the sky palm facing the same direction as your chest. Keep your shoulders stacked upon one another with your arms extending in a straight line. Lift your hips up high and keep your torso in a straight line with your hips and legs. Resist the temptation to collapse your hips inwards.

3. Bend your right leg and place the top of your foot high up your left hip crease as in half lotus.

4. Bring your right arm behind your back and grab onto the big toe of your right foot. Turn your head and gaze up to the sky.   Maintain the pose for 15-60 seconds. Lower down into plank and practice again this time switching sides.

Benefits
- Strengthens the external obliques, abdominals, core
- Strengthens the arms, triceps, deltoids
- Develops coordination with the upper and lower halves of our bodies
- Strengthens wrists
- Stretches the hamstrings and shoulders

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Ankle injury

 


 



Pendant pose / Lolasana

(low-LAHS-anna)

lola = pendant, charm

1. From Tadasana, squat down and come to your tip toes and rest your knees on your chest. Place your hands about shoulder width apart and approximately one foot’s length away from the tops of your feet with your fingertips pointed to the front and palms down.

2. Brace your arms and your core and rock forward, shifting all your weight into your arms. Variation: Place yoga blocks underneath your hands on the lowest level to help you get a little more height for lifting up.

3. Lift your right leg up so it is tucked in as close as possible to your body and hold it there for at least 5 seconds. Release your right leg down and repeat with the left leg.

4. Cross your ankles right over left in your squatted position and simultaneously using your core’s stability and arm’s strength, lift both legs up and tuck your legs in as close as possible to your body.

5. Try to straighten your arms as much as possible and gaze forwards. Hold the pose for a few seconds at a time and gradually increase your time in the pose as you develop strength. Repeat the steps outlined above this time changing leg position.

Benefits
- Strengthens arms, shoulders, wrists
- Strengthens core
- Improves balance

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Shoulder injury

 


 



Bound Half Lotus Tip-Toe Pose (Variation) / Ardha Baddha Padma Padangusthasana

(ARD-hah BAH-dah PAHD-ma)

ardha = half
baddha = bound
padma = lotus
padangustha = big toe

1. Squat down bringing your buttocks to your heels as they rise off the floor.  Straight out your spine.

2. Balancing yourself on the tips of your right fingers, grab your right foot with your left hand and bring it to the top of your left knee.

3.  Lower your left hand to the ground and shift your weight to your left fingertips.  Place your right hand on your right hip.

4. When you find your balance raise your left arm straight up into the air straightening out your spine and elongating your neck.

Benefits
- Stretches your legs and ankles
- Strengthens your ankles and core

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have an ankle or knee injury?

Challenge
Start from a Tree Pose variation with your right ankle just above your left knee.  Place your right hand on your hip and raise your left arm in the air.  Slowly lower down until your left heel rises off the floor and you are in a full squat balancing on your left toes keeping your spine straight and your neck long.

 


 

 

Parsva Bakasana / Side Crane Pose

(pars-VAH bahk-AHS-anna) ?
parsva = side
baka = crane

1. Bend your knees and squat on the floor with your knees together and heels slightly raised with your fingertips on the floor.

2. Exhale and twist your knees and hips to the right while keeping your chest shoulders and arms parallel to the front of the room. Take the outside edge of your left knee high up to your right triceps close to inside of your right arm pit.

3. Exhale and shift your weight forwards into your hands and lift both feet simultaneously off the floor keeping your knees together and torso rotated. Keep your arms strong and straight. Tip forward and take the weight of your torso and into your arms and find your balance. Gaze to the ground slightly in front of your hands of your has you balance.

4. Exhale, and bring your feet back into a squat, or jump back into Chaturanga.

Benefits
- Strengthens arms, wrists, abdominals
- Improves balance
- Stretches the spine

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Pregnancy

 


 

 

Balance Dedicated to Astavakra / Astavakrasana

(ahsh-tah-vah-KRAHS-anna)

asta = eight
vakra = bent, curved

1. Sitting on your buttocks, place your right hand between your legs close to your body and place your left hand beside your left hip.

2. Bend your right arm and hook your right leg over your right triceps.  Now hook your left foot over your right.

3. Inhale deeply. On the exhale straighten your arms and legs at the same time squeezing your right triceps with your knees and lift your hooked feet toward the ceiling lifting your buttocks off the ground.

Benefits
- Strengthens wrists, arms, legs and abdomen

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist or back injury

 


 

 

Cock Pose / Kukkutasana

(coo-coo-TAHS-anna)

kukkuta = rooster

1. Start by sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position. Take your left arm and hook it under your left knee. Bring your left foot to your right hip crease as in half lotus. Place your left hand on the floor in front of you.

2. Take your right foot and cross it over your left resting on your left hip crease. Slide your right arm in into your right knee crease. Place your right arm on the ground in front of you. Both arms should now be place underneath your knees while your legs are in full lotus.

3. Place your hands in front of you as close as possible to your buttocks, and shift all your weight forwards into your hands and arms as you start to lift your buttocks a few inches off the floor.  Brace your core and continue to lift yourself higher up your arms. Gaze forwards.

Variation: In order to achieve more lift from the pose, try placing your hands on yoga blocks placed underneath your buttocks on the lowest level.

Variation: Turn your fingers to the back and raise your palms up so that you are balancing on your fingers in order to achieve more lift.

4. Maintain the pose for a few seconds at a time gradually increasing your time as you are more comfortable with the asana.  Lower down to the floor with control to exit the pose. Practice again this time alternating leg position.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips
- Strengthens the arms
- Improves balance and flexibility

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Knee Injury

 


 

 

Cowherd Pose / Goraksasana

(gorah-KAHS-anna)

Goraksanath = discipline of Matsyendranath, place in India

1. Come into a seated full lotus position. Place your hands in front of your legs and rock all your weight forwards on to your knees. Variation: Try practicing in half lotus position to begin.

2. Lift your torso up and tilt your pelvis inwards. Keep your core engaged, chest expanded and bring your arms out to the side for balance. If you are in half lotus pose, try lifting your back foot off the ground for a few seconds at a time to develop the sensation of balancing on two points.  Variation: Try practicing with a wall beside you and reach out with one hand to the wall for stability.

3. Bring your hands into prayer in front of your chest and try balancing for as long as you are able. Variation: Use the corner of a wall as a prop and rest one knee in the corner for stability as you bring your hands into prayer. Lower down and practice again this time alternating leg position in full lotus.

Benefits
- Strengthens the core
- Strengthens the legs
- Develops balance and concentration
- Stretches the hamstrings and hips

Cautions
- Knee injury

 


 



Plank Pose

1. If you are starting in Downward Dog, inhale and draw your torso forward until the arms are perpendicular to the floor and the shoulders directly over the wrists, torso straight and in line with your legs.  If you are a beginner you can bring your knees to the floor.

2. Turn your elbows to the back of the room and spread your shoulder blades and collarbones.

3. Press the front of your thighs up toward the sky and push your tailbone back.  Lengthen your neck and look at the ground keeping your throat and eyes soft.

Benefits
- Strengthens the arms, wrists, and spine
- Tones the abdomen?
- Increases core strength and stability?

Cautions
- This pose can be very hard on the wrists.  If you have carpel tunnel syndrome or wrist problems, you can try making fists, straightening your wrists and pressing into the ground with the flats of your fingers between the first and second knuckles.

 


 



Four Limbed Staff Pose / Chaturanga Dandasana

(chaht-tour-ANG-ah don-DAHS-anna)

chatur = four
anga = limb
danda = staff (refers to the spine)

1. From plank pose, exhale, slowly lowering your torso until your elbows and shoulders are parallel; elbows toward the back and upper arms squeezing your sides.

2. Your body should now be parallel to the floor.  Shoulder blades remain down and spread, but firm. Your belly button remains pulled toward your spine, tilting your pubis forward.  For beginners, you may drop your knees to the floor.

Benefits
- Strengthens wrists, arms, shoulders, legs, neck and abdomen

Cautions
- Those with wrist problems may stand on their knuckles, wrists straight.
- Talk to a yoga trainer before performing this pose if you are pregnant.

 


 




One-Legged Balance (Prep.) / Eka Pada Galavasana

(EK-ah PAH-dah gah-lah-VAHS-anna)

eka = one
pada = foot
Galava = sage Galava

1. Squatting on your toes place your hands in front of you in between your knees shoulder width apart, fingers spread and facing forward.

2.  Bend your elbows and place the top of your shins as close to your armpits as you can. Lean forward lifting your feet from the ground balancing your knees on your triceps.

3. Once you find your balance lean forward and place the crown of your head on the ground.

4. Rotate your left foot inward and place it in the crook of your left armpit while releasing your left knee from the same place.

5. Now straighten your left leg to the back of the room, pointing and spreading your toes.  At this point you will be balancing on your head and two hands.?

Benefits
- Strengthens your core, legs, arms and wrists

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist or lower back injury

 


 



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Garland Pose (Prep.) / Malasana

(mal-AHS-anna)

mala= garland

1. From Tadasana, lift your arms out in front of you at shoulder height, keeping your arms parallel to the floor.

2. Brace your core and bend your knees and start to lower down with control coming all the way down to the floor so that your feet are flat on the floor and your chest is at knee level.

3. Keep your chest lifted and gaze towards the horizon. Stay in the pose for 15 seconds to a minute and transition into the full version of Malasana, or slowly stand back up with control to exit the pose.

Benefits
- Improves balance and concentration
- Strengthens ankles
- Strengthens core

Cautions
- Ankle injury
- Pregnancy

 


 



Balance Dedicated to the Sage Vasistha / Vasisthasana

(vah-sish-TAHS-anna)

Vasistha= a sage; most excellent, best, richest

1. Start in plank position. Be sure that your hands are slightly in front of your shoulders, your core is engaged and your pelvis is tucked in. Engage your legs.

2. Simultaneously, roll your weight to the outside edge of your left foot and the inside edge of your right foot.  As you shift your weight, lift your right arm up to the sky palm facing the same direction as your chest. Keep your shoulders stacked upon one another with your arms extending in a straight line. Lift your hips up high and keep your torso in a straight line with your hips and legs. Resist the temptation to collapse your hips inwards.

3. Stack your feet, your right foot on top of your left foot and balance on the outside edge of your left foot.  Bend your right leg and grab on to your big toe with your right hand and extend your right leg up to the sky. Keep your hips lifted up high. Turn your head and gaze at your big toe in the sky.

4. Maintain the pose for 15-60 seconds. Release the foot and lower down into plank. Practice again this time switching sides.

Benefits
- Strengthens the external obliques, abdominals, core. Strengthens the arms, triceps, deltoids and wrists
- Develops coordination with the upper and lower halves of our bodies
- Stretches the hamstrings.

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Ankle injury

 


 

 


Scales Pose / Tolasana

(toe-LAHS-ana)

tola= balance, scale

1. Start by sitting up tall on the ground in padma (full lotus position) with chest expanded and shoulder blades down the back.

2. Place your palms face down beside your hips flat on the floor with fingertips facing forwards.  Variation: to achieve more lift from the pose, try placing your hands on blocks placed beside your hips on the lowest level.

3. Pull your belly button towards your spine and press firmly down into your hands. Lift your body off the floor a few inches until your arms are straight. Keep your knees and sitting bones parallel to the floor.

4. Keep your gaze forwards. Hold the pose for 15- 30 seconds and lower down. Practice again this time changing leg position in full lotus.

Benefits
- Stretches the hips
- Strengthens the arms
- Improves balance and flexibility

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Knee injury

 


 




One-Leg-Over-Arm Balance / Eka Hasta Bhujasana

1. From Staff Pose bend your right leg and grab the sole of your right foot with your left hand pushing your right knee to the outside of your shoulder and hooking it over top. Keep your left leg straight in front of you.
2. Place your hands firmly beside your hips. Lift your left leg as high as you can into the air engaging your core and keeping your back strong and look at your toes.
3. Take a deep inhale, and with an exhale, straighten your arms lifting your buttocks off the ground.

Benefits
- Stretches your hip flexors
- Strengthens wrists, arms, legs and abdomen

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist, hip or back injury

 


 




Shoulder Pressing Arm Balance / Bhujapidasana

(boo-jah-Pee-Dhass-anna)

bhujanga = serpent or snake

1. Start by standing a little more than hip distance apart. Bend forward and take your right shoulder and place it under your right knee. Take your left shoulder and place it under your left.

2. Take your hands and place them on the outside of your feet, palms flat on the floor and fingertips facing forwards.

3. With control, carefully bend your arms and knees and shift your weight back into your arms. You should feel the natural tendency for your legs to lift up as you shift your center of gravity. Try to get your tailbone low and pointing downwards towards the ground.

4. Lift your feet up off the ground simultaneously a couple of inches as you shift your weight back as you straighten your arms. Variation: try lifting one leg off the ground at a time until you feel stable enough to try them both. Squeeze your inner thighs together against your upper arms to help you stabilize.

5. Hook your right foot over your left foot and keep your gaze forwards. Try to maintain the pose for 15-30 seconds. Lower down to the floor with control to exit the pose. Practice again this time alternating feet position in the balance.

Benefits
-Strengthens the arms, shoulders and wrists
-Improves balance and focus
-Stretches and strengthens hamstrings

Cautions
-Carpal tunnel
-Shoulder Injury

 


 

 


Firefly pose / Tittibhasana (Legs High Var.)

(Tee-Tee-bah-AHS-ana)

tittibha = a small bird living along the coast line; also a firefly or insect.

1. Start by standing a little more than hip distance apart. Bend forward and take your right shoulder and place it under your right knee. Take your left shoulder and place it under your left.

2. Take your hands and place them on the outside of your feet, palms flat on the floor and fingertips facing forwards.

3. With control, carefully bend your arms and knees and shift your weight back into your arms. You should feel the natural tendency for your legs to lift up as you shift your center of gravity. Try to get your tailbone low and pointing downwards towards the ground.

4. Lift your feet up off the ground simultaneously a couple of inches as you shift your weight back as you straighten your arms. Variation: try lifting one leg off  the ground at a time until you feel stable enough to try them both. Squeeze your inner thighs together against your upper arms to help you stabilize. Straighten your legs and extended them up towards the sky.

5. Keep your gaze forwards. Try to maintain the pose for 15-30 seconds and lower down to the floor with control to exit the pose.

Benefits
- Strengthens the arms, shoulders and wrists
- Improves balance and focus
- Stretches and strengthens hamstrings

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Shoulder Injury

 


 




Balance Dedicated to the Sage Vasistha  (Side Plank pose) / Vasisthasana

(vah-sish-TAHS-anna)

Vasistha= a sage; most excellent, best, richest

1. Start in plank position. Be sure that your hands are slightly in front of your shoulders, your core is engaged and your pelvis is tucked in. Engage your legs.

2. Simultaneously, roll your weight to the outside edge of your left foot and the inside edge of your right foot.  As you shift your weight, lift your right arm up to the sky palm facing the same direction as your chest. Keep your shoulders stacked upon one another with your arms extending in a straight line. Lift your hips up high and keep your torso in a straight line with your hips and legs. Resist the temptation to collapse your hips inwards. Variation: To decrease intensity, bend your left leg and rest it on the ground for greater support.

3. Stack your feet, your right foot on top of your left foot and balance on the outside edge of your left foot. Turn your head and gaze at your thumb in the sky.

4. Maintain the pose for 15-60 seconds. Lower down into plank and practice again this time switching sides.

Benefits
- Strengthens the external obliques, abdominals, core, the arms, triceps, deltoids
- Develops coordination with the upper and lower halves of our body
- Strengthens wrists

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Ankle injury

 


 




Eka Pada Bakasana / One legged Crane Pose (Version B.)

(ak-AH PAH-dah bahk-AHS-anna) ?

eka = one
pada = foot
baka = crane

1. From a squatted position on your tip toes, place your feet approximately hip distance apart and your hands on the ground in front of you with your knees on the outside of your elbows.

2. Place your right shoulder underneath your right knee.  Lean your torso slightly forward and bend your arms placing your hands flat on the floor with your fingertips pointed forward as well.

3. Place your left knee on your upper left triceps as high as possible until it is close to your shoulder. Try to keep your arms as straight as possible.

4. Shift your weight forwards into your hands and lift your left foot off the floor bringing it as close to your buttocks as possible. Keep your arms strong and try to resist against the pressure of your knees. Tip forward and take the weight of your torso and into your arms and straighten your right leg out to the front.

5. Stay in this position for about from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. Exhale, and bring your feet back into a squat, or jump back into Chaturanga.

Benefits
- Strengthens arms, wrists, abdominals
- Improves balance
- Stretches the spines
- Stretches the hamstrings

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Pregnancy

 


 

 

Balance Dedicated to Astavakra / Astavakrasana

(ahsh-tah-vah-KRAHS-anna)

asta = eight
vakra = bent, curved

1. Sitting on your buttocks, place your right hand between your legs close to your body and place your left hand beside your left hip.

2. Bend your right arm and hook your right leg over your right triceps.  Now hook your left foot over your right.

3. Inhale deeply. On the exhale straighten your arms and legs at the same time squeezing your right triceps with your knees and lift your hooked feet toward the ceiling lifting your buttocks off the ground.

Benefits
- Strengthens wrists, arms, legs and abdomen

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist or back injury

 


 




One-Legged Balance Pose II / Eka Pada Koundinyasana II

(EK-ah PAH-dah koon-din-YAHS-anna)

eka = one
pada = foot
Koundinya = sage Koundinya, Vedic scholar and a descendent of Vasihta

1. Squat with your buttocks resting on your heels with your heels off the ground. Keep your spine straight with the crown of your head reaching for the ceiling.

2. Place your hands on the ground in front of you shoulder width apart. Spread your fingers and grab the ground. Lean forward and bend your elbow toward the back of the room placing the top of your inner right thigh on your right upper arm.

3. Extend your left leg back and maintain your balance with your tucked toes on the ground directly behind you. Engage your core and lean forward even more placing your center of gravity above your hands.

4. Lift both of your feet off the ground at the same time so that you are balancing on your hands. Straighten your back left leg and point and spread your toes.

5. When you have found your balance extend your right leg out to the side as well and point and spread your right toes

Benefits
- Strengthens your core, legs, arms and wrists

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist, shoulder or lower back injury

 


 

 

One-Legged Balance Pose I / Eka Pada Koundinyasana I

(EK-ah PAH-dah koon-din-YAHS-anna)

eka = one
pada = foot
Koundinya = sage Koundinya, Vedic scholar and a descendent of Vasihta

1. Squat with your buttocks resting on your heels with your heels off the ground. Keep your spine straight with the crown of your head reaching for the ceiling.

2. Inhale raising your arms over your head.  Exhale and twist from your waist to the right placing your hand on the floor to the outside of your right thigh shoulder width apart.  Your right triceps will be pressed against your right hip and your left triceps placed against your right knee.

3. Lowering your chest slowly to the ground and bending your arms, bring your right hip and right knee onto your triceps. Looking forward bring your feet off the floor keeping your legs bent and your knees and ankles together.  Slowly bring the crown of your head to the ground.

4. Straighten your legs to the left and point and spread your toes.  Now take your left leg and point it to the back of the room pointing and spreading your toes.  At this point you will be balancing on your head and two hands.

6. Slowly raise you head off the ground and straighten your neck gazing at a focal point on the floor.

Benefits
- Strengthens your core, legs, arms and wrists

Cautions
- Do not perform if you have a wrist or lower back injury

 


 



Firefly pose / Tittibhasana (Legs Low Var.)

(Tee-Tee-bah-AHS-ana)

tittibha = a small bird living along the coast line; also a firefly or insect.

1. Start by standing a little more than hip distance apart. Bend forward and take your right shoulder and place it under your right knee. Take your left shoulder and place it under your left.

2. Take your hands and place them on the outside of your feet, palms flat on the floor and fingertips facing forwards.

3. With control, carefully bend your arms and knees and shift your weight back into your arms. You should feel the natural tendency for your legs to lift up as you shift your center of gravity. Try to get your tailbone low and pointing downwards towards the ground.

4. Lift your feet up off the ground simultaneously a couple of inches as you shift your weight back as you straighten your arms. Variation: try lifting one leg off  the ground at a time until you feel stable enough to try them both. Squeeze your inner thighs together against your upper arms to help you stabilize. Straighten your legs and extended them up towards the sky.

5. Keep your gaze forwards. Try to maintain the pose for 15-30 seconds and lower down to the floor with control to exit the pose.

Benefits
- Strengthens the arms, shoulders and wrists
- Improves balance and focus
- Stretches and strengthens hamstrings

Cautions
- Carpal tunnel
- Shoulder Injury

 


 

 


Dancers Pose Variation / Natarajasana

(not-ah-raj-AHS-anna)

nata = dancer
raja = king

1. From Tadasana bend your right leg and grab onto the outside of your right foot with your left hand.

2. Pull your right foot into the air straightening your leg. Pull your right foot over your head so that your toes point left.

3. Extend your right arm out to the side so that it is parallel to the floor. If you wish add a mudra such as the Guyan Mudra.

Preparation
Practice Monkey Pose or Hanumasana until you are comfortable in the splits. You can also practice this pose up against a wall before balancing on your own.

Benefits 
- Stretches your hamstrings, calves, groin and hips

Cautions 
- Do not perform if you have a groin, hamstring or hip injury




3 Comments for BALANCE YOGA POSES


Habeeb - Reply
May 28, 2013, 7:06 am

I love all the postures, they are really demanding!

    MR.YOGA - Reply
    June 11, 2013, 9:16 pm

    Glad to hear you are taking your practice to the next level! Namaste

Ajay roy - Reply
August 31, 2013, 3:08 am

simply the best with perfection





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