Purpose: Building Strength, Bone and Balance
Props needed: Wall, chair, or table
Bend left knee slightly and shift weight into your left foot. Inhale and reach your right leg up and back to hip height, or as high as you are able while maintaining a neutral “flat back” position with your spine. Keep the right leg straight as you lift it.
Exhale and press your left foot into the floor to straighten the leg. Engage abdominal muscles to support your spine. Reach the crown of your head forward while reaching back with right heel, right toes pointing down. Notice if one hip is lifting higher, and try to make the hips even.
Keep your gaze on the floor.
Inhale and reach your left arm straight back alongside the left hip, palm facing your hip. On another inhale, if you feel stable, try reaching the right arm back alongside your right hip. Now you are balancing on one leg without the support of the wall! Use your breath to support the pose, finding more length from your head to your lifted heel with each inhale, and pressing down through your standing leg as you exhale.
Try balancing for three breaths. To come out of the pose, return both hands to the wall, bend your left leg slightly and lower your right foot to the floor. Walk your feet closer to the wall and come up to stand.
Repeat standing on right leg and reaching left leg back.
Modifications: The lifted leg does not have to be parallel to the floor. Just lift it as high as you are able (not exceeding hip height) while keeping it straight.
Special Benefits: Builds bone strength, improves balance and concentration, enhances awareness of breath practice, improves core and back strength, stimulates the lymph and cardiovascular systems.