Pride comes before the fall. Stay humble. Have you ever wanted to try an advanced pose in class but got too worried that you will fall so you sit it out instead? OR been overly confident, fallen out of it and felt your ego bruise as you quickly look around to see if anyone noticed?
Let’s forget about all of that, have fun with our practice as we play around with balance, challenge ourselves to go for the new pose, and most importantly be able to brush it off and get back up to try again.
These six balancing poses will kick your practice up a notch, while also asking you to stay grounded and humble. As an added bonus all the plank variations will really work the core.
Have a set of blocks handy, though I don’t ask for them at any point in these poses, know that it is perfectly okay to reach for them at any point for support.
This is a more challenging sequence so I do recommend that you be at an intermediate level to try it out. If you are new to yoga, please check out the other yoga sequences I have on my YouTube channel, and I’ll see you right back here soon!
Since these are more advanced poses and may be new to you, please feel free to watch the video lesson instead, Balance, Core and Asymmetrical Poses. If you watch the video you will even see me wavering and struggling to get the final pose over and over again.
Otherwise, let’s dive in, have fun and bring our sense of humor to the mat.
1. Two-Legged Table Top Sequence – Find a neutral table top pose, where your spine is parallel to the floor and your belly is engaged. Lift the right leg up and back, reaching it straight out behind you. Keep the right hip from opening up, instead have it pointing towards the ground (along with your knee and toes). Push the right elbow straight, and then extend the left arm out in front of you. With every inhale extend your reach, as you exhale contract and bring the elbow and knee to touch. Repeat this motion a few times. Return your left hand to the ground. Keeping the right leg long, drop just the toes to the ground. Roll onto the inner edge of the right foot. Leaning onto the left hand, extend the right arm up in a modified side plank. Find a spot to focus on as you try to float the right leg up off the mat. Return back to table top. Switch to the opposite arm and leg extended.
2. Low Lunge Side Stretch – Bring the left foot forward with the knee over the ankle. Drop the right knee to the ground. Upright the torso and sink into the hip flexors. Bend the right elbow, bringing the hand to rest between the shoulder blades. Place the left hand onto the right elbow as you take a side bend. Breathing deeply into the side waist. After holding here for a few breaths, move through a vinyasa flow and then take this low lunge stretch on the other side.
3. Two-Legged Table Top Sequence Part 2 – Return to table top. Extend the right leg back as before, but this time reach the right arm forward so that all of one side is lifted. Keep that right side from opening up, hip and shoulder are rotating down. Finding your balance in this pose will be much trickier than when you had opposite sides lifted. Keep your gaze steady and squeeze the glutes. Now you may open up to the side, returning to a modified side plank. Right leg extended and lifted parallel to the ground, right arm reaching up overhead. Maybe look up towards the fingers if it is okay on the neck. If this isn’t already enough and you want to try taking it further, let’s try for a bow pose variation from here. Bend the right knee, and reach the right hand back to try to catch hold of the foot. Aim to keep the knee and ankle in the same plane, as you push the foot into the palm. Lean the chest back to take a nice back bend. Remember wobbling here is totally normal. Carefully let go, returning to all fours. Try it all on the other side.
4. Warrior 3 Sequence – Come into a high lunge with the left foot forward and back heel and knee off the mat. Bend deep into the left knee, making sure it is in line with the middle toes. Extend the arms overhead, and feel free to take a bit of a bend in the back knee if that’s more comfortable. Find a point ahead to focus on as you bring your hands together at the heart. Come to stand just on the left leg, pulling the right knee into the chest. Reaching the arms back overhead, inhale and extend the right leg straight in front of you. Point your toes. As you exhale, slowly float the right leg back behind you. Coming into Warrior 3. Flow through a few of these, inhale the leg forward body upright, exhale hinging forward and floating the leg back.
5. Eagle Pose – From Warrior 3, inhale forward but this time cross the right leg over the left. Take a bend in both knees as you wrap the legs together. Wrap the right arm under the left, bending the elbows and bringing the backs of the hands to touch. Keeping eagle arms, try once again to take a Warrior 3, reaching the right leg back behind you. Breathe through the wobbles and wavers. Bend deeply into the standing leg as you return the right foot and both hands to the ground.
Repeat 4 and 5 with the right leg on the ground and left leg lifted, before moving on to our apex pose.
6. Two-Legged Dog – Before we begin this pose, let me take a moment to remind you not to get frustrated if it doesn’t work the first, second or 100th time. I fell out many, many times and still do (honestly, watch the video if you don’t believe me). Start first in downward facing dog. Hands flat on the floor, fingers wide, feet hip width distance apart. Tuck the toes and lift the hips up and back. From here, kick the right leg up for 3-legged dog. Bend the right knee, and open the hip to the side. To keep going, come first to the fingertips of the left hand. If you can find steadiness here, walk the fingers back to the center of the mat. Stay here if you want, it is already quite a difficult position. If you still want to play, try to lift the left hand entirely. Reaching it back behind you, try to clasp hold of the back foot. If you find connection push the heel into the palm, and work on bending the back as in the bow pose variation. If you fall, try, try, try again. Return to downward dog, take a child’s pose or wiggle it out, before trying on the other side. You may find one side more attainable than the other.
You did it! Whether you clasped your back foot in the final pose or not, you showed up, you played around, and you did it all with a smile on your face (right?)!!!
If you are at all confused, please watch the video below and practice along with me.
Peace, love and balance,
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