Hands and Knees Balance

Hands and Knees Balance
Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: Balancing Table Pose

Type of Pose: Hands and knees

Benefits: Improves balance and core strength.

Hands and knees balance is a great place to start to work on that all important yet illusive key to so many yoga poses, core strength. It's low to the ground and easy to release quickly if you feel like you're going to fall, which takes care of a lot of the uneasiness people feel around balance challenges.

It's also easy to scale it up into a backbend or by throwing in some crunches when you are ready. Read on for all the details.

Instructions:

1. Come on to all fours with the wrists underneath the shoulders and the knees underneath the hips.

2. Extend your right foot to the back of your mat and flex your foot.

3. Lift your right leg up to hip-level, keeping your hips squared towards the floor and your foot flexed.

4. Lift your left arm up to shoulder level, keeping the arm straight. Point your thump toward the ceiling as if you were going to shake someone's hand or turn your palm to face the floor.

5. Balance on the left knee and right hand, keeping the spine neutral and the neck long. Your gaze should be on the floor.

6. Stay 5-10 breaths before lowering the lifted hand and knee. Spend a few breaths in all fours to get your solid foundation back, then do the pose on the other side.

Beginners' Tips:

1.

Take care that your spine does not collapse into a cow position while you are balancing.

2. It's ok if you wobble, Just do you best to keep both limbs lifted off the floor. 

Advanced Tips:

1. Do some crunches in which you round your spine (like cat position) to bring your right knee and left elbow to meet under your belly, then re-extend them.

Repeat five times on each side, moving with the breath. Extend the hand and foot away from one another on your inhalations and bring your knee and elbow together on your exhalations.

2. Bend your right knee. The sole of your foot will be facing the ceiling. Reach around behind your back with your left arm and hold on to the inside of your right foot with your thumb pointing toward your toes. You can stay here or kick into your left hand with the right foot to lift the right leg and bring your spine into extension (a backbend).

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