Woman balancing yoga

We spend all day balancing our work and personal lives (not to mention our checkbooks), while ironically neglecting our literal sense of balance. Solid physical balance is more than just being able to stand on one foot: The ability to balance prevents future injuries, improves your focus and relieves stress.

The best way to improve your balance? Learn easy yoga poses you can do anytime, anywhere – I find these to be especially helpful when you’re in the middle of a stressful situation or have a tough decision to make. Easy yoga poses bring your mind back into the present moment and help you find your center, while your subconscious sorts itself out.

Before trying the easy yoga poses below, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you’re like me and your balance is worse than a drunk person’s, these easy yoga poses won’t feel so easy at first. Make sure you have a wall or chair nearby in case.
  • Take your time – move into each pose slowly and remain completely aware of what your entire body is doing.
  • Work on each pose from the ground up: Start with aligning your feet, then legs, torso, arms and head.
  • Keep your mind relaxed and focus on your breathing. When I first started doing these poses… well, it was pitiful, but when I tried them again the next day I saw an immediate improvement. Keep it up!

Here are 7 easy yoga poses that will improve your balance in every sense of the word:

1. Tree

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Shift your weight onto your right foot. Bend your left knee and place the sole of your foot as high as you comfortably can on your right inner thigh. Point your toes down. Raise your arms overhead and relax your shoulders. Repeat on the other side.

2. High Lunge

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Starting in a runner’s lunge, raise your torso upright and reach your arms overhead, palms facing each other. Make sure your front knee is parallel to the floor, back leg straight, hips forward. Repeat on the other side.

3. Standing Extended Big Toe

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Place your hands on your hips and relax your shoulders. Shift your weight onto your right foot. Lift your left leg in front of you, bringing it parallel to the floor (or as close to parallel as you can). Repeat on the other side.

4. Chair

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Stand with your feet hip width apart. Extend your arms forward, pretend there’s a chair behind you and “sit” as far as you comfortably can.

5. Extended Triangle

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Stand with your feet roughly four feet apart, turning your left foot out on a 90 degree angle. Raise your arms out to the sides so they’re parallel to the floor, palms down. Keeping your legs firmly in place and only moving your torso, reach your left hand down toward your ankle and your right hand to the ceiling. Repeat on the other side.

6. Half Moon

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Starting in Extended Triangle, slide your right leg closer to your left. Bend your left knee to lift your right leg until it’s parallel with the floor while placing your left hand on the ground. Lift your right hand to the ceiling. Repeat on the other side.

7. Lord of the Dance

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Shift your weight onto your left foot. Bend your right knee, reach your leg back and grab onto your foot or ankle. Pull your right leg behind you as far as you comfortably can, while raising your left arm in front of you and keeping your hips forward.

What easy yoga poses would you recommend?

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Image: Ann Harkness