Hump Day Yoga: Balance Poses

>> Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One often-ignored step you can take toward good running form is balance practice. It makes your foot strikes more precise and efficient . . . and also increases strength and flexibility in your legs and core. Plus, if you've ever played Wii Fit and left feeling like a complete loser because your Wii Fit age is, like, double how old you ACTUALLY are, these poses are for you.

Balance is key to overall health.
And yoga poses, in general, help achieve balance.

Two of my favorite standing poses for balance are Tree (Vrksasana) and King Dancer (Natarajasana). You might want to warm up your legs with a little Warrior II and side stretch action first. If so, check out last week's installment of Hump Day Yoga.

Tree (Vrksasana)
  1. Stand in the middle of your mat (or wherever), feet together.
  2. Bring the sole of your right foot to your inner-left thigh. (Though you're supposed to try to do this without using your hands -- I always use my hands to position my foot.)
  3. Bring your hands into a prayer position at your chest or over your head, as I'm doing above. Feel your center of balance.
  4. Hold here up to 90 seconds if you can. It helps to find a spot on the ground or wall to focus on for balance. Repeat on other side.

King Dancer (Natarajasana)
  1. Stand in the middle of your mat (or wherever), feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your left leg straight and slowly lift your right foot (holding the inside of your right foot with your right hand) as you raise your leg behind you.
  3. All while this is going on, bring your upper body almost parallel to the mat. See photo above.
  4. Hold up to 90 seconds. Again, find a spot. And repeat on other side.
Balance poses are difficult. So if you're not exactly able to hold 'em for very long, don't get discouraged. Keep at it, and your ability to hold the pose will increase with time.

Still haven't checked out our Foodie Book Club? If you missed yesterday's post with all the details, go just click here. We're going 23 people (and counting) strong at this point. And there's still time to join in! Just make sure you do it soon -- you'll have a chance to suggest books until midnight on Friday (2/26). And we'll vote on Sunday. So mark your calendars and check back.

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