Yoga Series 1 for runners – Standing Balance Sequence

After warming up with the Sun Salutation sequence, move to either the Standing Hip and/or Twist Sequence, extend the practice by finishing with this Standing Balance Sequence.   Hold each pose for 1 – 3 minutes (around 10 – 25 breaths).

Start with feet hip width apart, hands by the hips.  Inhale and raise arms overhead, come up onto the toes for Extended Mountain.  Exhale and slowly bend the knees and come down into a Half-Squat, inhale and return to Extended Mountain, drop heels to ground exhale and fold from the hips, placing hands under feet for Gorilla.  Return hands to hips and return to standing.  Bring right foot to left thigh for Tree.  Inhale and bring the right leg forward into Standing Extended Leg.  Cross right ankle over left knee and sink down into Half Lotus Toe Balance.  Fold forward, hands to mat and into a Half Lotus Forward Fold.  Release leg, inhale and return to standing.  Repeat sequence for the other side.

Extended Mountain

Eye gaze forward with a long neck
Elbows close to ears with shoulder blades down the back
Engage core to hold you stable
Keep ankles strong to stay even across the toes

Half- Squat

Slow and controlled as you lower
Quads parallel to the mat
Core engaged to hold body upright
Arms remain parallel and above the head

Gorilla

Bend knees slightly if hamstrings are tight
Palms facing up feed hands under feet
Toes come all the way to the wrists
Experiment with lifting one heel (or both) off the mat

Tree

Foot to ankle, calf or inner-thigh (not knee)
Open knee out to side as far as possible
Stay strong on the standing leg, lifting up the hip
Challenge the balance by looking up, or closing the eyes

Standing Extended Leg

Keep hips parallel
Both legs straight
Point and flex the lifted foot
Engage core to keep body strong

Half Lotus Balance

Cross ankle over knee
Flex foot to protect the knee
Bend standing leg at ankle and knee and sink low into a squat
Push palms of the hands together at chest

Half Lotus Fold

Bring ankle to top of the thigh
Flex foot to protect knee
Engage core and fold from the hips
Ground the standing leg into the mat and lift at the hips
Place hands on the floor or blocks for support