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    5 Poses for Balance and Flexibility

    Here are five poses to help you with flexibility and balance.  Improving your balance strengthens your core and other muscles, improves stability, posture, muscular control, and body awareness. It also improves mental focus and clarity.  Try these on a balance board for an extra challenge, in the sand, on pebbles, or on your yoga mat.

    Crow Pose: Whenever we teach yoga to kids, they love to try the crow pose, because it's such a challenge and they feel so proud of themselves after they have mastered them (or even while trying).While in frog pose (squatting on feet with hands touching the ground between two legs), take hands and place them in front of legs.  Kneel forward, bending elbows to make a shelf for your knees.  Then, lean forward and place your knees onto your elbows like a shelf.  Keep leaning onto your tippy toes and then lift both feet off the ground so that your elbows are supporting your knees.

    Half Moon Pose:Begin in Triangle pose, then slowly start to shift your weight forward onto your front foot. Lift your back foot off the floor, and center your hips over your standing leg. Open your hips as you extend your arm upwards (lift the same arm as your leg), keeping the other hand on the ground.

    Dancer Pose:Begin in Mountain pose, then lift one foot so that the heel makes contact with your behind. Grasp the top of the foot with the hand on the same side, then lift your foot up and away from your torso and the floor. This pose requires arm and leg strength, as well as balance, but with enough practice it is a majestic balancing pose.

    Tree Pose:Begin in mountain pose, then slowly slide your foot up the length of your standing leg and let it rest against your upper thigh. Bring your hands to your chest or above your head, and balance, breathing deeply.

    Warrior III:Begin in a high lunge, with both arms above your head and your torso leaned slightly forward. Exhale and attempt to straighten your front leg and lift your back leg at the same time. Let your torso and arms come parallel to the floor as you balance on your standing leg.

    These poses will strengthen your arms, wrists, belly, back, legs, and hips.