Balance is a central pillar of yoga, both literally and metaphorically.
At its very essence, its primary goal is to help you achieve overall balance. This includes your mental, physical, emotional and psychological person.
On a more literal end, yoga poses are all about balance. While many postures test your balance and stability, you’ll also notice that proper form involves an equilibrium, or balance as well.
In a previous article, we went through the basic yoga balance poses. You can check them out again here.
Now, we’ll get a step further and look at some of the more advanced yoga poses. They’ll help fix your imbalances structurally so that you move more efficiently.
This not only helps you be stronger and more mobile, but it also prevents aches and pains.
Best Yoga Poses for Balance, Strength and Flexibility
1. Revolved Lunge Pose
This pose builds on the lunge pose.
But, it increases the challenge level by forcing you to maintain balance while twisting your body.
The revolved lunge pose is one of many modifications and variations of the basic lung pose. We like it because it improves coordination, concentration, stability and endurance.
Since the pose puts you in a less stable position, you’ll be able to regain and maintain balance better when you slip or are in uneven terrain.
Also, you also benefit from the extra core strength and flexibility.
The change in position also means you’ll be working different muscles to those in the lunge pose.
The revolved lunge is great for your thighs and butt. It also gives your hips a good stretch while loosening up your psoas.
When performing the revolved lunge pose start by focusing on form and technique first. Once you’ve got that down, then start holding for time.
Once you’re there, you can try holding the pose for 5 to 8 breaths per side.
2. Half Moon Pose
The Half Moon Pose is a great asana for building balance and stability.
It also builds strength and flexibility in your hips and legs. We love that it gives special attention to your feel and ankles which play a big role in maintaining balance, especially on uneven surfaces.
The half moon pose is a strong and complex move. It involves many different elements happening at the same time. This makes it challenging.
Here are a few things to consider when starting out.
- For better balance, stand in front of a wall when performing this asana. This lets you have extra security in terms of balance. Doing so also lets you focus on executing the different elements properly before turning your attention to balance and coordination.
- If you aren’t getting enough hip mobility and flexibility, practicing hip opening poses helps a lot. This lets you get your body past parallel during the half moon pose.
- Touching the floor is a common issue. But, don’t worry if you can’t reach the ground in the beginning. Practicing the pose helps improve flexibility. So, you’ll get there. In the meantime, try using a yoga block. You can also use books or a shoe box at home.
Hold this pose for 5 breaths on one side. Then, do the same for the other side.
3. Warrior III Pose
Like the Warrior I and II poses, this pose focuses on balance and stability.
But this time, you do it on one leg.
Doing so helps you build strength and stability in both your right and left legs. It also reduces muscle imbalances.
We love this pose because it helps teach you how to correctly pick up small objects. By using your hips instead of bending with your back, you’ll be able to avoid back pain and injuries.
The warrior III is great for strengthening your legs and toning your butt.
Plus, it builds core strength and stability, not just in your abs but also in your lower back.
One tip that we’ve found to be very helpful for anyone trying this pose initially is placing a chair a few feet in front of you.
This gives you something to touch or hold onto when you feel unbalanced.
You can also use the chair as a target to reach for.
- First, by lowering yourself to touch the top of the chair.
- Then, gently push off the top of the chair to bring yourself back up to your starting position.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of all the elements, hold the bottom part of the pose for 5 breaths for each side.
4. Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
By now, you’re ready to become a balance ninja.
And, you can do that with this pose.
The extended hand to big toe pose is a bit more challenging than the moves above because you’ll need to bring your leg up above your waist.
And, simultaneously maintaining proper form on your upper and lower body.
In doing so, it builds not only balance but also superior flexibility.
Because you’ll be standing on one leg throughout the asana, it requires total focus and concentration.
From experience, we’ve found that most people have a hard time initially. So, here are a few variations that will help you perfect your extended hand to toe posture.
Variation A: Use a strap
Like most people, I had tight hamstrings which made lifting my leg up difficult.
If you’re like me, a yoga strap or towel is an excellent way to stretch your hamstrings and improve flexibility.
Just tie the strap around the bottom of your foot and use it to help pull your leg up. The strap makes ups for any lack in reach. And, because you can adjust the its length, it works for everyone.
Variation B: Bend your knee
Once you get a bit more flexibility and can get your leg up waist high, try using your hand to bring it all the way up.
To make things easier, bend your knee. Yes, this isn’t proper posture. But, at this point, the goal is to achieve enough flexibility. Once we get that, then we can build on getting your leg straight up.
Variation C: Lean against a wall
Now that you’ve achieved good leg and hip flexibility, it’s time to get your get all the way up to your shoulders.
To make this step easier, try leaning your other hand against a wall.
This takes out the balancing aspect of the pose, at least for the moment.
Doing this makes it easier to focus on proper form and flexibility.
Now You’re Ready
Once you’ve got form and flexibility down, it’s time to let go of the wall and stand on your own.
When you’ve accomplished this, try holding the full pose for 3 to 5 breaths per side.
5. Lord of the Dance Pose
Finally, we have the lord of the dance pose.
In the previous pose, we experienced a stretch in the hamstrings. This time, it will be your quads that enjoy a good stretch.
Also, you’ll also be bending backwards to reach for your foot.
The lord of the dance combines balance, concentration, flexibility and strength. It helps open your chest and shoulders. Plus, it gives your abdomen, thighs and groin a good stretch as well.
To maintain proper balance and stability, you’ll need to rely on core strength. Your feet, ankles and legs also need to be strong yet steady.
Like the Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose, this is a challenging pose because it requires very good flexibility.
If you can’t reach or get your back leg up high enough, you can use a yoga strap or belt. A long rope with a loop or resistance band will do as well.
The strap will make your hind leg easy to reach. It also helps you gradually improve flexibility.
Once you’ve achieved the proper posture, hold the pose for 3 to 5 breaths. Don’t forget to repeat the process for the opposite leg.