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A Beginners Guide to Standing Balance Yoga Poses On One Leg

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Have you ever wondered what are the key elements to learning standing balance yoga poses on one leg?

We're going to explore a beginner's guide to practicing standing balance postures. Focusing on the key fundamental principles for yoga positions focused on balance.

This is a nice progression to explore after having learnt the essentials about how to best approach standing yoga poses. So if you haven't practiced along with the beginners standing yoga class you might want to try that first.

You can choose to jump straight into the standing balance yoga class or read and try yourself some of the following postures.

Three Yoga Positions for Balancing on One Leg

We're going to now focus on how to find your foundation when balancing on one leg and refine your technique to be able to explore different standing balances by practicing the following three yoga poses.

(1) Mountain Pose, Tadasana

yoga positions for balance

The first posture that's going to be super helpful for learning to balance on one leg is our Mountain Pose, Tadasana. Now this might seem a little counterintuitive since the posture has both feet on the ground. But by understanding the position of your body in the Mountain Pose you’ll be able to better understand the key principles that you’re looking for in standing balance positions.

So you can start by spreading the toes, allowing your feet to be nice and heavy. Taking a moment to close your eyes and seeing if you can stand up super tall. While there's also a feeling of heaviness through your feet. You're actively lengthening up through the legs, through the upper body and stacking the head and shoulders above your hips.

Now when we balance on one leg we want to really find that foundation in the feet and a sense of balance in the body. If you like you could close your eyes here to really feel the subtle sensations in your body.

From here you might just start with leaning your weight a little bit forward. So leaning towards your toes, again eyes could be closed here, and then leaning the weight a little back to your heels. You're seeing if you can adjust your sense of balance as you keep slowly leaning forward and back.

And then coming back to a neutral position.

Now you may have just felt that even when we were have both feet on the ground there's a real difference in our ability to balance when our eyes are fixed on a small point on the ground that's not moving versus when we have the eyes closed.

So typically as you're learning different standing balances I would suggest to start having your eyes open and looking at that small detail, maybe a small kind of pattern on the floor, to really kind of focus the attention.

Then once you're a bit more comfortable with the posture you can start to look elsewhere or even play with closing the eyes.

(2) Standing Balance on One Leg

standing one leg yoga pose

So we're now going to progress to our first standing balance posture with a real focus on finding that connection with the ground.

Start to shift your weight into your left leg and ground through your left foot. On your next inhale start to lift your right heel up and then slowly start to lift your right knee up. Do your best to keep your left leg long and active, like it was in the Mountain Pose.

After one breath you can slowly start releasing your right leg back down on your exhale. And then shift your weight into your right leg and allow your left leg to lift up.

If it's a bit more wobbly you could keep your big toe on the ground and just lift the heel of your foot up. Or keep lifting the leg up but keeping your gaze looking down.

And just doing this a few times, shifting the weight from side to side and moving with your breath. So we're just staying for around one breath or so with one knee up and then intentionally shifting our weight.


Once you’re comfortable with moving in and out of the standing balance you can try holding the posture for around five breaths. Perhaps using the help of your hands to draw the knee up towards your chest.

Despite balancing on one leg, we want to find as best as we can a similar position to that in the Mountain Pose.

To challenge your balance further you could see how it feels to move your gaze from looking down to looking forward. And if you’re still steady try to close your eyes. If you start to wobble, see if you can keep slightly adjusting your position and re-find your balance once more.

(3) Tree Pose, Vrksasana

standing yoga pose one leg up

The third pose we’re going to explore is the Tree Pose, Vrksasana.

Starting in the same way as we did before, bringing your weight into your left leg. You could keep your right ball of the foot on the ground and place your right heel on your left foot.

If you feel steady here, you can lift your right knee up and place the sole of your right foot either below the left knee or use the help of your hand and bring the foot a little higher above the left knee.

When the foot's higher it's a bit more wobbly and harder to balance. So it’s best to start with your foot lower. And once you've practice the posture enough times to feel steady, you can play with bringing your foot a little higher up.

We're working on first finding again that balance on the standing leg through the foundation our foot on the ground and an active standing leg. And then allowing the rest of the body to grow tall like in the Mountain Pose with your head and shoulders above the hips.

Again, if you wanted to challenge your balance and you're quite steady you could play with closing the eyes. Just notice how that shifts your balance.

With standing balances, it can be common that without noticing you start to hold your breath. Meaning that you will only be able to hold the standing balance for as long as you can hold your breath!

So see if you still keep some of your focus on allowing your breath to be slow and steady. As you build up to staying here for 5-10 breaths. From here you can slowly release the leg down and take a moment to shake through the legs. Repeating on the opposite side.

Tips for Practicing Standing on One Leg Balance Yoga Poses

Now there's of course a whole series of standing balance postures and these are a couple of the first fundamental poses that you can start to practice to improve your balance.

I would suggest first getting comfortable with these and then using the same principles in other more challenging standing balances like the Standing Big Toe Pose.

If you’ve not practiced many of these balance postures before it’s quite normal to find these tricky. If it’s hard to even balance for one or two breaths, I would suggest trying to practice standing on one leg balances close to a wall.

That way you can start to use a very light touch of your fingertips close to the wall. Then if you start to wobble in the balance and feel like you're going to fall out you can just very lightly touch the wall. Over time moving slowly away from the wall and trying to balance without the support of the wall.

Another tool that can be really useful for learning standing balance poses is to practice them sometimes while standing on a yoga block. It’s actually more challenging to balance on a block but it will help to improve your balance over time making the same postures without a block feel easier.

So yeah I hope you have fun exploring the basics of standing balance postures!

Take some time to practice the fundamentals and get comfortable with these three poses and then enjoy the fun journey of exploring all sorts of other standing with one leg up poses.

Happy practicing!

💛 Irene


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