Balance Sequence

Once you’ve internalized the basics of balance - Grounding, Support, Centering and Vision - you’re ready to embrace the advanced lessons of balance on and off the mat.  The practice of yoga is historically informed by the yamas and niyamas, loosely translated as “values for interactions with others,” and “values for preparing yourself.”  

Aparigraha is one of the yamas and can be translated as “non-grasping” or “non-possessiveness.” On the mat, this can mean the tendency we all have to hold on too tight to “The Pose.” Gripping and striving to embody the external form of a pose we’ve seen someone else do not only throws us literally off balance, but imbalances our perspective by privileging an inauthentic perspective over the only one we can have - our body’s capacity in this present moment.

Closely related to this value is Ishvara Pranidana, or “surrender.” The final niyama, the sense of surrender here is that of prepared acceptance. Rather than a devil may care attitude, it’s the calm abiding that comes when you’ve set your sights on worthy goals, prepared fully, executed according to plan and then have only to surrender the outcome. It’s the surrender of knowing what you can affect, and what you must let go.

So for this Advanced Balance Sequence, create your foundation, prepare and focus, mindfully express from your core outward and then let go and see where your journey has brought you.

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat, Yoga Towel or Blanket, Yoga Block

It is recommended to perform the warm-up before starting this routine.

Step 1: Vinyasa
Duration: 2-12 times
Sequence Review: Vinyasa Sequence

Step 2: Eagle
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Reivew: Eagle Pose

From Raised Hands Pose, lift your left knee and bend both knees, sitting and crossing your left knee over your right, hooking your left foot around your shin. Sweep your left arm under your right, bending both elbows, bring your left wrist between the right wrist and your face to bring your palms together.

Step 3: Warrior 3
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Reivew: Warrior 3

Lifting your left knee, stand up and unwind your arms, reaching up and overhead. With a strong core and your right leg fully engaged, kick your left heel out behind you as you rotate your pelvis over your right leg and bring your torso parallel to the ground.

Step 4: Revolved Half Moon Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Reivew: Revolved Half Moon Pose

Reach your left hand down to the ground under your shoulder as you revolve your ribcage so you are facing right and lift your right hand toward the sky. Keep your hips level

Step 5: Repeat Steps 2-4 on the other side.

Step 6: Bird of Paradise Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Reivew: Bird of Paradise Pose

From a bound Extended Side Angle Pose, walk your back foot in and bring your feet parallel. Transfer your weight to your back foot, and as you stand up your front, bound leg will come off the ground. Extend your bound leg up beside your torso and point your foot.

Step 7: Repeat on the other side.

Step 8: Dancer Pose

Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Reivew: Dancer Pose

From Mountain, bend your left knee and take your left foot in your left hand. Kick back as you lean forward, rotating your pelvis over your right leg and keeping your chest broad. Reach your right hand out at eye level. Eyes rest on the right index finger and thumb.

Step 9: Firefly Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Reivew: Firefly Pose

From a narrow footed Garland Pose, reach your hands between your legs and back around your heels so that your palms are outside your feet, coming from behind. Hug your knees into your upper arms as you sit back, transferring your weight to your arms. Extend your legs and point your toes.

Step 10: Flying Crow Pose

Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Reivew: Flying Crow Pose

From Tree Pose standing on your left leg, bring your right foot forward and place it on the front of your left thigh up near the crease, knee pointed down. Fold forward from a strong core, hands under shoulders, palms pressing into the ground, bending your left knee. Hook your right toes around the back of your left upper arm. As you transfer your weight to your hands, reach your left heel out directly behind your left hip.

Step 11: Hand Stand Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Reivew: Hand Stand Pose

Come to regular Downward Facing Dog wherever you’ve been doing your other inversions. You’ll several more feet of space because your arms will be fully extended. Walk your feet in, bend the knees gently and press your belly back until your hips are balanced over your shoulders. Extend your legs up and point and spread your toes. Keep your gaze forward in this pose, just as if you were doing Raised Hands Pose, only up side down!

Step 12: Shoulder Stand
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Reivew: Shoulder Stand

From a supine position, press your elbows into the ground, draw your knees in and extend your legs up and overhead. Bring your hands to your low back and support it until your breath stabilizes. Reaching up through your toes, slowly bring your hips over your shoulders until your shoulders, hips and toes are in a line perpendicular to the ground. Breathe with your chest, keeping your core muscles fully engaged.

Step 13: Plow
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Reivew: Plow Pose

Lower your feet behind your head without lowering your hips toward your chest. Maintain long side bodies. Reach your hands behind you and bring your hand together with straight arms.

Step 14: Fish
Duration 5 breaths
Pose Reivew: Fish Pose

Unfurl through your core until your hips are on the ground. Bend your knees and bring your toes to the ground. Pressing your elbows into the ground, lift your heart up until you are balanced on your sitting bones and sacrum and reach the top of your head back to the ground. Reach your arms up.

Perform the relaxation sequence to complete this routine.

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