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5 Ways to improve your balance with Gentle Yoga

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Yoga has many benefits and the more we practice the wide spectrum of Yoga, the more we will see the benefits and understand what we need from our practice.

Each Asana (Posture) has its own set of benefits and we do the Asana practice to help support our physical body as we journey through life, keeping it strong, supple and functional. We only have one body after all, so it’s important to take care of it!

No matter what stage of life you’re at, there’s always time to make positive changes to your lifestyle to help support your overall health.

When approaching your physical practice, it’s important to remember that every day is different and we will experience different sensations and feelings as we move our bodies.

Some days we will feel stronger, some days faster, some days slower, some days achey or tired or really good at balancing... and then the next day, we wobble like a weeble!

Balancing can be incredibly frustrating. The key is consistency, practice and patience. Don’t give up and try not to give yourself a hard time. (Not easy, I know!)

Here are 5 practices you can do to start to improve (or maintain) your balance!

PROPS - Grab a chair, a wall or some blocks to help you out with these.

Take off your shoes and socks, give your toes a good wiggle and rotate your ankles a few times in one direction and then the other. Our feet spend a lot of time in shoes, socks or slippers (especially over Winter), so it’s important to give them a good breathe and encourage them to move!

1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana) or Samastitihi (Equal Standing).

Stand with the feet apart, a comfortable distance that feels stable for you. You might hold a chair or the wall here.

Bring your attention to the soles of your feet and imagine they are spreading wide. You might spread the toes, lift them and place them back down. Think about rooting down through the balls of the toes and the heel. Your feet are designed for stability!

Aim to bring equal pressure into both feet, soften the knees and press the feet into the floor without gripping the toes. This should feel active, as your leg muscles engage. Lift up through the crown of the head, but soften the shoulders, relax the face and come to focus on your breath.

Eyes can be open, focusing softly on a spot ahead of you... take 10 slow and steady breaths.

Option... try closing the eyes!

2. Shifting the weight from one foot to the other.

Feet stay on the floor but we encourage each foot and leg to bear the weight. Perhaps notice the stability within your feet and legs, notice the sensations of muscles engaging... is there a point where you feel like you might go to far and wobble? Trust yourself here, trust that your legs and feet have got you! (And the wall or chair!)

Come back to centre, start shifting forwards and backwards. Weight into the balls and toes, weight into the heels. Notice what your toes do to support you.

Make sure you are breathing as you move! I encourage you to explore this slowly for at least 1 - 2 minutes.

3. Standing on one leg.

From Mountain Pose. Go slow with thing one, focus, breathe and be patient!

Shift the weight into the right foot and lift your left heel. Start to lift the toes... hover the foot an inch off the floor, the weight fully in your right foot and leg.

Explore lifting your left foot a little higher - how does that feel? Does that make your balance easier or more challenging?

Try placing your left foot on a block for a bit more support

From here you can play around with sending your leg forward, out to the side and behind you, either without putting your foot down at all to really challenge your balance, or tapping the foot down in between.

Take 3 - 5 breaths and then repeat on the other leg!

4. Tree Pose

From mountain, turn your right knee out to the side, keeping the toes on the floor and the heel resting against your left ankle.

Root down through the left foot and lift up through the crown of the head. Think lengthening through the left side of the body from foot to head and gently squeeze your muscles, making sure you can still breathe.

Explore arm options - Hold a wall, a chair with one hand

for support, bring hands into prayer at heart centre, r

each your arms over head or out to the sides. Observe what happens to your balance through each of these.

Take 3 - 5 breaths and then repeat on the other leg!

5. Chair Pose to standing on one leg.

Stand with the feet slightly apart, bring the weight into the heels and sink your bum back and down as if sitting in a chair. Notice the muscles in the legs that engage here.

Shift the weight into one foot and lift the opposite foot off the floor. Staying in chair briefly, before coming to stand up (on one leg)

Place the foot back down, sit back in Chair pose, and shift over to the other side, lifting the other foot now.

Not only does this work your balance, but also strengthens your legs and core, , which are important for maintaining balance!

Try this 6 times in total, 3 on one leg, 3 on the other. Make sure you are breathing the whole time!

Bonus one... 6. Using your breath to balance!

Our breath is so important to our body and how we function. If we tense and tighten the breath, this causes tension and tightness throughout our physical body and within our minds. We are sending signals to the brain and body that we are in danger.

If we can tap into the breath and maintain a slow steady rhythm, it can truly help us to focus whilst balancing or moving. We are then signalling to the body that we are safe, and we will make it through the challenge and discomfort.

Remember, Practice, Patience and consistency! Make it fun - balance whilst on the phone or waiting for the kettle to boil or whilst playing with the grandkids - they will benefit from a balance challenge too!

Need a bit of support?

I run Gentle Yoga - Accessible & Supportive Yoga for older adults - at The Hub Hazelwell, Kings Heath.

Numbers are limited so you might be invited to join the waitlist.

Contact Sophie: 07929603972,

Find out more:

With Gratitude, Sophie xx

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