Improve Your Balance With Yoga Exercises

yoga exercises

Balance is a skill that can be improved through yoga, just like strength can be strengthened by lifting weights. However, balance is controlled by more than one muscle group and can be difficult to improve without working all of them.

Many studies have found that yoga increases blood flow and levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells which enhances oxygen delivery to the cells. It also lowers the resting heart rate and increases endurance.

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose improves spinal flexibility, strengthens the abdominal muscles, and helps alleviate lower back pain. It also opens the chest and stretches the hips flexors, obliques, and intercostals. This posture prepares the body for more advanced backbends, such as Camel and Wheel Pose.

You can make this pose more challenging for your body by adding a yoga block between your knees. This strengthens and tones the inner thighs, which work as synergists with the gluteus maximus to extend the hips and bend the knees. It is also a good stretch for the shoulders and neck. Bridge Pose offers many variations, and practicing a different variation each time keeps your yoga practice fresh and challenges the body in new ways. Variety is the spice of life, and it is especially true in yoga.


Cobra is a powerful backbend that strengthens the spine and muscles in your upper back. It also helps stretch the chest and shoulders. It targets the external obliques — pair of muscles that form a diamond shape on either side of your abdomen; trapezius muscles — large, triangular-shaped muscles that run from the base of the skull across the tops of the shoulders; and erector spinae — muscle that runs the length of your spine.

Unlike many backbends, Cobra is gentler on the back and neck, making it a great pose for beginners or anyone with limited mobility. Try it as part of a warm-up or a beginner yoga flow. Or, add it to your repertoire of heart-openers as a way to relieve stress and energize the body.

Downward-Facing Dog Modified

Downward-facing dog is a challenging pose that requires upper body strength. If hamstrings are tight, it can be difficult to achieve straight legs and to keep the heels on the mat. Many students compensate by rounding the spine, which can lead to shoulder and neck pain.

To ease the intensity on the shoulders, students can widen their stance by placing the palms on the back of the mat and walking them forward about six inches to create a more spacious stance. This also helps ease the stress on elbows and wrists.

This pose opens the back and chest, strengthens the arms, shoulders and triceps, and builds core strength. It stretches the back and relieves neck tension, and it calms the mind. This posture is not recommended for people with severe carpal tunnel syndrome or late-term pregnancy and it should be avoided by those who have high blood pressure.

Tree Pose

Tree Pose (Vrksasana) is one of the first balancing poses most beginners learn. It strengthens the ankles and calves, as well as the core muscles. The pose also stretches the groin, inner thighs and chest. It helps you to stand strong like a tree and feel grounded and balanced in all situations, on and off the mat.

It can be difficult to balance in Tree Pose if the hips are not open. You can practice some simple hip-opening exercises to make it easier.

This yoga posture should not be practiced if you have high blood pressure, dizziness or headaches. It is best to consult a physician or Yoga expert before practicing any yoga asanas. It is advisable to avoid this asana if you have back problems or neck injuries.

Warrior II

Often paired with Downward-Facing Dog in yoga flows, Warrior II is an effective transition pose that strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest, and builds strength and flexibility in the upper arms and shoulders. It also teaches determination and focus as the student learns to hold a pose for an extended period of time.

The feet are typically at least a leg’s length apart in Warrior II, with the back foot parallel to the front short edge of the mat or turned slightly toward it. The knee of the front leg is usually bent at a 90-degree angle and positioned directly over the ankle.

If the front knee tends to lock, straighten it a little to relieve pressure on the joint. For students with neck injuries, it is best to not turn the head in this pose.