Yoga for Flexibility and Balance: 6 Best Poses

Balance and flexibility are the most common reasons people start practicing yoga.

They’re also two of the greatest benefits you’ll get from regular practice.

Over time, our bodies can start to feel tight, unstable, and not as comfortable as they used to. Yoga is a great way to improve your body’s flexibility and balance so that you can start to feel good in your own skin again.

So, let’s take a deep dive into the benefits of yoga for flexibility and balance. Plus, we’ll walk you through six of the best yoga poses to achieve greater flexibility and improve your balance in no time.

How Does Yoga Improve Flexibility?

In yoga, we practice holding stretches for long periods of time. The longer we hold a stretch, the more we can access the deep tissues in the body and improve flexibility.

If you’ve ever practiced downward dog after a long period of avoiding stretching, you’ll know exactly how it feels to stretch tight muscles!

Yoga allows us to tune into the tightness that our bodies are experiencing so that we can practice deep stretches and dynamic movement to create more ease and flow in our joints and muscles.

Why Focus On Flexibility?

Increasing your flexibility has many benefits that will add to the overall health of your body and mind. A few of these benefits include:

  • Less muscle tension and pain
  • Lower stress
  • Improved circulation
  • Less risk of injury
  • Improved posture

Why Practice Yoga to Improve Your Balance?

Practicing yoga to improve your balance will make you more physically stable. This means that you’re less at risk of injury.

As well as improving our overall physical stability, focusing on balancing yoga poses can also lead to better emotional and mental steadiness. Bringing your attention to a physical balance is a great way to calm the mind and gain clarity over your thoughts.

Which Type of Yoga Is Best for Flexibility?

While all styles of yoga will improve your flexibility, the best style of yoga to practice for this is yin yoga.

Yin yoga guides you into holding deep poses for long periods of time (generally 2-3 minutes, but anywhere up to 15 minutes!). When we hold poses for longer periods, we’re able to stretch the fascia (deep connective) tissue that covers our entire body. This is what leads to real mobility and flexibility in the body!

Yoga for Flexibility and Balance

Follow along with our yoga for flexibility and balance video! Continue below for a detailed explanation of each pose.

Here are six yoga poses that make up a short 5-minute sequence and will help you build flexibility and balance.

Take your time as you move through these poses, focusing on the aspects of flexibility and balance that they allow your body to access.

Let’s look at how to perform each of these poses to get the most benefit.

Mountain pose

how to do mountain pose

As one of the most basic yoga poses, mountain pose often gets missed as a great starting point on your journey towards better balance.

Start in a standing position with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms by either side – palms facing forward.

From here, close your eyes and experiment with balance by bringing your weight onto one foot and then the other. Then try moving your weight between the balls of your feet and your heels until you find what feels like your center of gravity.

Downward dog/three-legged dog

how to do downward facing dog in yoga

From a standing position, bring your hands to the ground and step your feet back into downward-facing dog. Push through all five fingertips to lengthen through the spine as you reach your hips to the sky. Bend your knees as much as you need to so your back remains straight.

Then allow your heels to sink towards the ground, stretching your hamstrings and calf muscles. You might like to ‘walk the dog’ by bending one leg and straightening the other, switching sides as you breathe.

To come into three-legged dog, bring more weight into your left foot as you lift your right foot to point away from you. Focus on keeping the hips level and try not to worry about the distance between your right foot and the ground. Stretch through the right toes as you move towards creating a straight line between your right wrist and right toes.

Warrior I pose

how to do warrior i pose

From downward-facing dog, step your left foot between your hand. Turn your right toes out to 45 degrees, then raise your arms overhead as you lift your torso.

Take a deep bend in the front knee to bring your knee over your ankle and allow your hips to sink towards the ground to increase the stretch.

If you’re struggling to balance, step your right foot closer to the right-hand side of your mat.

Warrior III pose/dancer pose

how to do warrior iii pose

Come into a standing position at the front of your mat, your feet hip-distance apart.

Bring your weight onto your left leg, then hinge from the hips as you tip your torso forward and lift your right leg behind you. Place your hands in a prayer position at your heart or stretch your arms in front of you.

Engage your core and focus on keeping your back leg lifted and straight.

From here, bend your right knee and reach your right hand back to hold onto your ankle. Kick your foot into your hand to lift and open your chest and increase the stretch in your right hip.

Tree pose

Tree pose

From a standing position, bring your weight into your left foot as you come onto the toes of your right foot.

Bring your right foot to rest on the calf or inner thigh of your left leg to find tree pose.

Use your hip to push your right knee towards the back of your mat and bring your hands to your heart center. To find greater balance, lift your arms overhead.

While practicing tree pose, push through your standing leg to improve your balance and keep your hips level.

One-legged chair pose

One-legged chair pose

From a standing position, bring your weight into your left foot as you come onto the toes of your right foot.

Place your right foot on your thigh just above your left knee and bring a soft bend into the left knee to support your right foot.

From here, bring your hands to a prayer position. Keep your spine long and chest open, using all four corners of your standing foot to bring balance into the pose.

With each exhale, deepen the bend in your standing leg.

Keep your right foot flexed and focus on using your hip to bring your knee closer to the ground.

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