Standing Balance Flow

I was inspired to create this flow when working with a client who had lower back pain and a shoulder injury. Warming up with a traditional sun salutation was problematic with the forward folds and downward dogs being moved through quickly, so I was looking for something that would still bring a range of motion to the spine while getting the body warmed up and steadied. As I started practicing it, though, I realized finding a different way to warm up my body was good for me as well, because I was engaging my body in a way that I normally didn’t, so instead of relying on muscle memory, my body was having to do a little extra work. So now this is often added to my routine as well to challenge my body.

The flow moves from tadasana, through chair pose, into a crescent lunge, before thoroughly challenging the balance with a warrior 3 and half moon. In the mornings I often find myself very wobbly through the first few rounds, but by evening my body is more ready to adapt to the movements. Below is a notation of the movements with the breath in case you cannot watch and follow along with the video.

Give it a try and let me know how it feels in your body! If you regularly do sun salutations, how does this differ for you?

Tadasana Tadasana
Start out standing in tadasana. With your inhale, take your hands overhead, bringing the palms together.
Read my article and watch my video on finding tadasana here.
Chair Chair pose
As you exhale, begin to bring your palms down to the center of the chest, just in front of your breast bone, while bending in the knees and sitting back into chair. Squeeze the inner thighs toward each other without bringing the knees together, and let the tailbone feel heavy. Ensure you are not flaring the ribs out and letting the lower spine curve inward. Instead, focus on pulling the left rib cage, right rib cage, and navel towards each other to support the low back.
Lifted Knee Lift the knee
With your inhale, begin to rise up from chair, bringing the right knee with you. Keep focus on your balance by pushing evenly into the left foot, feeling weight in the ball of the big toe, the ball of the little toe, and evenly distributed to both sides of the heel.
setup for Crescent Crescent lunge setup
As you exhale, take the right leg behind you, landing on the ball of the foot. Push through the back foot’s toes, feeling the back of the thigh lifting up as you do. Continue to keep your ribs and navel pulled toward one another so as not to overarch the lower back.
Crescent Lunge Crescent lunge
With the inhale, take the hands toward the sky, breathing into the space behind the breast bone. Letting the breath behind the breast bone lift the upper body, take a backbend. It’s depth will depend on how much the breath wants to lift the upper body and how stable you feel in this pose. Continue to squeeze the inner thighs toward one another to keep the body steady in this pose.
setup for Crescent Crescent lunge, hands at heart
Exhale the hands back down in front of the breast bone.
Warrior 3 Warrior 3
With your inhale, leap forward, lifting the back leg into the air and keeping the hands at the heart. Push through the back heel, pulling the toes toward the shins as you flex the foot. Let the head stay in line with the spine, and feel the line from crown of head to heel. Keep distributing the weight evenly into the standing left foot. Exhale, holding the pose.
Half Moon Half Moon
With your inhale, open the body up by dropping the left hand to the floor or to a block, and taking the right hand up toward the sky. The right hip will stack on top of the left, and the rib cage will rotate to face out. Use the inhale to fully twist the body open.
Warrior 3 Warrior 3
Exhale, unwinding the body. Bring the hips back to square, and bring the hands back in front of the heart. Find steadiness here with one more inhale.
setup for Crescent Crescent lunge, hands at heart
Exhale, bending the left knee and dropping the lifted foot back down to the earth, landing on the ball of the foot. Bring the body upright to set up for moving back through crescent lunge.
Crescent Lunge Crescent lunge setup
Inhale, taking the hands toward the sky, for one more crescent lunge.
setup for Crescent Crescent lunge, hands at heart
Exhale the hands back to the heart.
Lifted Knee Lift the knee
Inhale, pushing off the back toe and lifting the right knee back up to a one-legged tadasana.
Chair Chair pose
Exhale, bringing the lifted knee to the ground and sitting into chair. Be sure to once more take your focus to the lower back, tailbone, and rib cage/navel triangle. Now is not the time to slack off with your alignment!
Tadasana Tadasana
Inhale, pushing through the feet and lifting the hands up overhead. As you exhale, take the hands back down to your side, standing in tadasana. Take two deep breaths and complete a round on the other side. Repeat the sequence two to three times on each side.

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