Preventing Falls: 5 Beginner-Friendly Balance Poses

Balancing becomes harder as we get older. Along with this come the fear of falling and an increased risk for osteoporotic fractures. That is why it is important to incorporate balance poses into your fitness routine.

While we know we need to practice balancing exercises regularly, balancing can be hard work. Our ability to balance changes daily based on many different external and internal shifts. For example, weak ankles or injuries can negatively affect balance. So can stress, fatigue, being distracted and your breathing. Fortunately, balance, like any skill, improves with practice.

5 Beginner-Friendly Balance Poses 

Here are five balance poses you can practice daily. Each one includes suggestions for more support as well as how to challenge yourself as your balance improves. If you feel unsteady, use a wall or the back of a chair for additional support. Start with short holding times in each pose (20-30 seconds) and gradually increase to a minute or two.

1) Balancing Mountain 

Balancing Mountain stretches and strengthens the arches of your feet, ankles, and legs, giving you a strong foundation.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and parallel with your arms relax at your sides and palms facing forward. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Engage the low belly as you lift your chest. This is mountain pose, the starting position for this pose and the others that follow.

Maintaining this position, inhale as you push into the floor with your toes, and lift both heels as high as possible. Find a focal point to help you balance. Exhale to lower your heel back down. Repeat three to five times, then stay with the heels lifted for three to five breaths.

Need more support? Rest your hands on your waist or hold onto the back of a chair or wall. Don’t lift your heels as high. 

Take it up a notch: Lift your arms up our to the side or up toward the ceiling as you lift your heels.

2) Tightrope Stance 

In this pose you balance on both feet, like you were balancing on a tightrope. Be sure to find a drishti, or gazing point to help you balance.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and parallel, letting your arms relax at your sides with palms facing forward. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Engage the low belly as you lift your chest. Find a focal point on the wall in front of you.

Place your right heel directly in front of your left toes, so the heel just grazes the toes. Stay here for three to five breaths. Repeat with the left foot in front of the right.

Need more support? Hold onto the back of a chair or lightly rest one hand on a wall.

Take it up a notch: Lift your arms higher or come onto the balls of your feet with your heels slightly elevated.

3) Balancing Star 

Creating this standing star-shape not only works on balance, but also strengthens your legs, butt, and core.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and parallel, hands on the hips. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Engage the low belly as you lift your chest.

Step your right leg out wide to the side, placing only your toes on the floor for balance to start. Next, flex your right foot as you lift your leg out to the side, allowing your upper body to tilt slightly to the left. Open your arms wide with palms facing forward to make a star shape with your body. Find a focal point to help you balance. Stay here for three to five breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Need more support? Hold the back of a chair or keep the toes of the extended leg on the floor.

Take it up a notch: Look up toward your hand on the same side as your lifted leg.

4) Knee to Chest 

This pose helps strengthen your legs, hips, and core as you find stability.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and parallel, hands on the hips. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Engage the low belly as you lift your chest.

Shift your weight into your right leg and lift your left knee to hip height so your upper leg is parallel with the floor. Flex your left foot as you balance on your right leg, keeping your hands on your hips. Maintain a steady gaze at a focal point. Hold here for three to five breaths before releasing your foot to the floor and repeating on the opposite side.

Need more support? Do knee to chest sitting in chair. Keep your spine long and both feet on the floor. Rest your hands on your hips and engage your low belly muscles. Inhale to lift your foot.

Take it up a notch: Draw your knee closer to your chest, using your hands and arms to gently pull it up or reach your arms out to the sides.

5) Baby Dancer Pose 

This pose strengthens your lower body, upper back, and core, while also stretching your hip flexors.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and parallel, hands on the hips. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Engage the low belly as you lift your chest.

Bend your right knee so that your flexed foot lifts behind you, keeping your thighs parallel. Keep your right hand on your hip, and lift your left arm up until your upper arm is in line with your ear. Keep a steady gaze at your focal point as you stay here for three to five breaths. Lower your arm and then foot to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.

Need more support? Hold the back of a chair or a wall with your lower hand.

Take it up a notch: Start to tip your torso forward, keeping your spine long and belly engaged.

Aim to spend five to ten minutes daily practicing these poses at least three to four times a week. The more consistent your practice, the greater the benefit. Then notice how, day by day, you are becoming more confident in your ability to balance. Be well!

Sending light and love,

Beverly