In this day and age, there are almost too many workout trends to keep track of. From cardio barre classes and hiking groups to crossfit and boot camp, there are endless options to choose from. The problem with most of these classes is that they are primarily focused on aerobic exercises and strength training. Balance and flexibility are the other two pillars of exercise, and they often take a backseat to strength and aerobic workouts.
The fact of the matter is that balance and flexibility are necessary for you to properly execute strength and aerobic exercises. Balance training helps to keep you stable, while flexibility training helps to keep your muscles limber, ultimately reducing your risk of injury by increasing range of motion. Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise that places an emphasis on balance and flexibility, but strength is still necessary to execute the poses. Whether you are a bodybuilder, Zumba enthusiast, or a person who just wants to improve balance and flexibility, the following yoga moves will be of great help.
Tree pose is one of the most practiced yoga poses, and for good reason! The goal of the pose is to stand tall, unwavering as you center your breath and focus on balancing your nervous system. Stand straight up with your feet hip-distance apart. Extend your arms over your head and bring your palms together. Slowly but surely, turn your left knee out to the side as you place your left foot, toes pointing down, on the inside of your right thigh. Lower your arms to your chest and breathe slowly, holding the pose for 15 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
This pose seems easy because all you have to do is stand straight. Most people slouch or over-arch, so this pose focuses on improving vertical alignment. To begin, stand up straight on your yoga mat with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms by your sides. Don’t push your shoulders too far back to overcompensate for slouching; rather, stand up straight without leaning forwards or backwards, feeling symmetrical. Take 10 deep breaths in this pose.
Chair pose is not considered difficult, but it requires proper form and balance to reap the benefits. Chair pose assists with strengthening the core and stimulating the heart and diaphragm. From Mountain Pose, raise your arms perpendicular to the floor and keep your palms facing inward. Exhale and bend your knees as if you are sitting down into a chair. Try to keep your thighs parallel to the ground and keep your arms extended up. Make sure your chest is up and your glutes are engaged. Hold this pose for 30 seconds, breathing deeply throughout.
Warrior 3 Pose:
This may be the most challenging pose in this article, but it is the ultimate pose for improving balance. Warrior 3 also helps to strengthen your core, which is necessary for stabilization. There are several ways to enter the pose. Experienced yogis will enter from Warrior 2 Pose, but we are entering from Mountain Pose. From Mountain Pose, hinge at the hips and lean forward until your torso is parallel to the ground. Extend your arms out to the sides and make sure your knees are slightly bent. Lift the left foot off the ground and slowly extend it behind you until it is inline with your torso. Slowly reach your arms out over your head and focus your gaze on a singular object. Hold for 15 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg.