I’ve said before that I believe improving your balance can help ensure a long, healthy life. That is a serious statement. But, if you don’t bring any playfulness to your practice of balancing poses, you won’t see any improvement.

As you try these poses this week, approach them with a smile on your face. Come in and out of them with giggles. Allow the lightness of play to transform your experience of standing on one foot.

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Begin in Tadasana (mountain pose). Slowly shift your weight to your right foot.

On an exhalation, bring your left foot, toes pointing downward, to the inner calf or thigh of the right leg. Avoid placing the foot on the inside of the right knee, as the pressure against the knee joint may not be healthy.

Drop the left side of the pelvis so that it is level with the right side.

Press the left foot into the right calf/thigh and the right leg back into the left foot for an isometric press.

You can keep your hands in prayer position in front of your chest, or lengthen the arms overhead.

Find a focal point on the wall opposite you upon which you can fix your gaze. Breathe naturally.

Hold for a few breaths. Release back to Tadasana and repeat this pose while standing on the left foot.

(If you really want a playful challenge in this pose, try practicing with your eyes closed.)

Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III)

Begin in Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) with the right foot forward. On an inhale, shift your weight into the right foot, pressing the heel firmly into the floor.

Then, exhale as you simultaneously straighten the right leg, fold forward at the hips and lift the left and extend the left leg behind you, bringing the arms, torso and left leg parallel to the ground.

Press the top of the right thigh bone back and ground through the right heel.

Drop your left hip toward the floor so it is even with the right hip and the hips are parallel to the floor.

Energetically extend out through both the left leg and the arms.

Hold for a few breaths before releasing back to Virabhadrasana I. Repeat this pose while standing on the left foot.

(Again, if you really want a playful challenge in this pose, try practicing with your eyes closed.)

So, how easy is it for you to “play” with these poses? Are there other aspects of your life that could benefit from an injection of playfulness? I’d love to hear your story, please comment below!

P.S. This post is part of a series on the basics of many of the most common poses. Look here for additional posts in this series.

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