Although I’ve been practicing yoga for years, I’m no stranger to wobbling through a flow — especially after taking some time off. Do I get discouraged when I can’t channel my balance? No — I just have a clearer understanding of what I need to work on.
Yoga flow requires skillful transitions, says Brenda Umana, a certified yoga instructor and the co-founder of Beyond the Studio Yoga. You have to work toward establishing a balanced practice to accomplish skillful transitions, especially as you shift your weight to one foot through poses.
“In yoga, there is often an emphasis on stretching, but it’s just as important to strengthen the body, and that’s what creates the feeling of balance and ease at the end of [a] practice,” she says.
Progress doesn’t come without work, though. Continue to better your flow by holding poses for longer periods, repeating transitions, and adapting more of Umana’s tips below for a steadier yoga practice.
Strengthen the Body
According to Umana, most balance poses require leg, hip, and core strength. She recommends practicing Dynamic Bridge pose to warm-up the hamstrings and Plank pose to condition your core.
“[When] you know you’re going to be exploring a practice that requires a lot of balance, practice near a wall. It’s super helpful to have one hand on the wall or even lean up against the wall,” Umana says. If you have blocks, Umana recommends using them as a grounding tool, too — like during Warrior 3 pose, for example.
Focus on One Point
“When you get to a pose that you know requires balance, focus on one point before you enter the pose,” Umana says. Keep your eyes at the top of your mat or somewhere on the floor, she adds — and try not to divert your gaze as you’re transitioning into the pose.
Move Slowly During Transitions
Practice dynamically moving back and forth between two moves a few times — Umana suggests Warrior 2 to Half Moon pose. As you transition between both, she recommends moving slowly with muscle strength, not momentum, and remember to focus your gaze.
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