Five Poses to Help You Balance in Tree

by Angela Clark

Finding balance can be a challenge. As a matter of fact, our bodies are almost always searching for it. In a world where we are constantly in motion, many times asymmetrically, it’s our body’s job to constantly create stability for us. Then you go to yoga class and your teacher asks you to stand on one leg, actively and purposely making the body unstable.

What? Why would she do that?

Ironically (and because this is yoga maybe the better phrasing is, of course) making the body unstable, forcing it to engage and strengthen muscles used for balance, ultimately creates more stability.

So let’s look at what moves will help you balance in a pose like Tree Pose, aka Vrksasana.

Here are five poses to help find balance and stability in your Tree Pose:

Arms Up Pose with a block between the thighs

By gently squeezing the block between the inner thighs:

a) The legs are being trained how to “hug” towards the midline.
b) Hugging the block increases access to engaging the pelvic floor (also known as mula bandha) and the deeper, smaller abdominal muscles that will help you find balance.
c) The inner thighs begin to experience the feeling of something pressing against them (preparation for your foot!)

Holding the arms up will:

a) help to increase the body’s stamina
b) allow the transverse abdominus muscles to strongly engage and stabilize the lower back.

Warrior II

Not only does this pose help to give overall strength to the legs, it also:

a) Stretches the inner thighs, allowing for more external rotation at the hip. Tree Pose is great for strengthening hips.
b) Builds strength in the external rotators of the front leg.
c) Cultivates balance by placing your feet on a narrow line.

Heel Lifts

Heel Lifts Heel Lifts

By raising and lowering the heels you will:

a) Strengthen the ankle joints.
b) Notice if you roll to the inner or outer seam of the foot. That will tell you where  you are weak in the ankle joint.

High Lunge

Another asymmetrical standing balance pose high lunge will:

a) Strengthen the outer hip.
**Beware! The front (bent) knee will want to collapse inward towards the midline. Engage the outer hip to keep it lined up directly over the ankle.
b) Stretch and strengthen the hip flexors.
c) Work the hamstrings and glutes to keep your pelvis from tipping forward. Think of actions like “cat-ing the lower back” or “lengthening the tailbone towards the floor”.

Fire Hydrant

An oldie but a goodie!  This move will:

Fire Hydrant Fire Hydrant

a) Strengthen the outer hip – both as a mover and a stabilizer.
b) Allow you to focus on “hugging” the transverse abdominus muscle back towards the spine, supporting the lower back.

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About The Mala Yoga Blog

We are a Brooklyn-based studio that focuses on alignment, balance and community. Have a read, try one of our Practice Podcasts, or come in and say "hi" in person!
This entry was posted in MORE WITH: ANGELA and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Five Poses to Help You Balance in Tree

  1. Pingback: Five Poses to Help You Balance in Tree | yogamagazine

  2. Hope you don’t mind, we re blogged your 5 poses for balance.

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