Yoga for Balance and Flexibility

April 1, 2014

Yoga Sequence for Balance and Flexibility

Last summer, I started practicing yoga on a daily basis. The more I practice, the more I’m able to fluidly transition to more difficult poses.  My strength, balance, flexibility—and patience with self—have come a long way. The following sequence is something I’ve gradually learned to do.  One morning, while in the single-leg bow pose (Figure 12), I thought: why not try to stand? When I did, it was amazing. In dancer’s pose (Figure 14), I feel my standing leg rooting down and the upper half of my body growing taller as if I am a tree. This pose fuels my inner-strength and inspiration.

This sequence will hopefully challenge your balance and flexibility.  Most importantly, do only what feels comfortable, safe, and right for the body you’re in today. 

To warm up your spine, begin in cat/cow.  While your hands and knees, inhale and arch your spine (cow); on the exhale, tighten your core, push the air from your belly, and round your back (cat).  Repeat for a few rounds.


Figure 1. Cow Pose


Figure 2. Cat Pose

From cow pose, using the energy in your core, exhale and transition to downward facing dog. Feel the energy moving up your arms and down your legs.  Keep your core lifted and push your heels towards the ground. Imagine your body in an upside down V.


Figure 3. Downward Facing Dog

 From here, inhale and lift your right leg, keeping your hips square and your foot flexed.


Figure 4. Right leg raise from downward facing dog

As you inhale, use your core to draw your right knee through your arms and plant your foot between your hands. Turn your left foot out, so your feet are perpendicular to one another. Raise up into warrior one, lifting your hands above your head and easing into a slight backbend.


Figure 5. Warrior One

 Keep your legs steady as you exhale and turn your torso sideways for warrior two.


Figure 6. Warrior Two

Inhale and slide your left arm down your left leg as you lift your right arm over your head for reverse warrior.


Figure 7. Reverse Warrior

 Exhale and rest your right forearm on your right knee.  Reach your left arm over head (Figure 8).


Figure 8. Resting forearm torso stretch

Straighten your right leg, and move in it about one foot. Place your right hand on your shin, ankle, a block, or the floor.  Inhale and twist your torso as your lift your left arm for triangle pose.


Figure 9. Triangle Pose

From here, slowly shift your weight entirely to your right leg as you lift your left leg, keeping your hips square, for half-moon pose.


Figure 10. Half Moon Pose

Bend both knees and clasp your left leg with your left hand.  Take few breaths here to steady yourself and stretch your quad.


Figure 11. Quad stretch

Inhale, and straighten your standing leg. Breathe into your right quad as you pull your right leg into a single-leg standing bow. Take a few breaths here.


Figure 12. Single-leg standing bow.

Slowly come to stand on your right leg alone.  Rest your right arm on a wall for a modified dancer’s pose or reach towards the sky and balance.


Figure 13. Modified dancer’s pose

Yoga-Dancer's Pose-Balance-Flexibility

Figure 14. Dancer’s pose

From here, gently release your left foot and hug your leg into your chest.  You may end here or continue with the sequence by  opening your hip with you leg bent and then straightened as shown in Figures 16-17.

Yoga-Dancer's Pose-Balance-Flexibility

Figure 15. Hugging leg into chest


Figure 16. Standing hip openner


Figure 17. Standing leg stretch

Repeat everything on the other side.

Close your balance and flexibility sequence with child’s pose and quiet sitting meditation.


Figure 18. Child’s pose (I promise I’m not bowing to my cat–despite what he thinks.)


Figure 19. Sitting meditation in half lotus


 Also see: Yoga for Awakening Your Sense of Joy

4 Yoga Stretches for Long Lean Legs

How to Exercise According to Your Monthly Cycle

Should You Practice Kundalini Yoga?


Photos: Mary Hood

Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


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