Balancing sequences are a wonderfully efficient way to strengthen the core, tone the glutes and legs, and establish a relationship to foundation. This sequence is designed to help you build strength as you understand the power of the yoga cue, ‘Root to Rise‘.
To begin, your foundation in yoga is anything that is touching the ground. This could be your hands, feet, knees, forearms etc. Imagine growing roots out of these points deep into the earth beneath you. Broaden your foundation to maximize this connection. This is the seed that is planted first within the story of your pose. Next arrives the breath. Begin to find a fluid like quality to your breath, allowing it to ebb and flow with ease and grace like a smoothly rolling river. As you water the seed of foundation, you are able to rise taller from that point. Now imagine extension from your foundation up your body and out your spine and limbs. Allow your pose to grow.
Root to Rise is a way to bring meaning into your posture. It is a metaphor that reminds us that each pose we create is alive within us. It deserves muscular activation and organic extension. It deserves strength, meaning, and grace. Put this cue to use and try out these postures with me 🙂
Standing ‘L’ Pose
I once had a student ask if it was okay if he just made a lower case ‘l’ here. It always helps me to put a smile on my face while I move into this invigorating posture.
- Standing in mountain pose, become aware of your foundation. Shift your weight into the four corners of your left foot. Root the foot into the ground below it. Keeping your pelvis neutral, draw your right thigh up parallel to the ground, ankle and shin perpendicular to that. Find a firm point to the toes.
- Interlace your hands behind your right thigh. Root your femur bone as you extend from your hip out to your foot. Find a firm flex to the foot now.
- Inhale and lift the arms into the overhead plane.
- Soften with a smile as you lift the corners of your mouth as well.
Virahbradrasana (Warrior) III
- Moving on an exhale, root your naval in toward your spine and slowly begin to hinge through your hips.
- Hands can either be placed together in front of the heart, out like airplane wings, or out in front of you (same position as previous pose).
- Drop your outer right hip down in line with the left, and roll the inner thigh upwards.
- Actively flex your back foot as if you were pushing into the wall behind you.
- Keep one line of energy from heel to fingertips. Hold and breath.
Wall ‘L’ Pose
- Move to a wall and sit with your back against it, legs out straight (dandasana).
- Look where your heels are, the heels of your hands will go in that same place.
- Plant your palms anchoring through the four corners of each hand (root!), and take a mini downward facing dog so your heels are pressing against the wall.
- Step one foot up at hip height keeping a bend in your knee. Step the second foot.
- Press both feet evenly now and begin to straighten your legs until hips vertically stack over wrists.
- Straighten your arms drawing ears in line with biceps, and think about pressing the earth away from you (rise!)
- Play with lifting one leg up and floint the foot (combination between a flex and a point where the ball of the foot points up but toes flex in-see in picture). Rest in Child’s pose.
No-handed Ardha Chandrasana (half moon)
- This is a fun variation of a common balancing posture! Begin by standing in Virabhradrasana II. Flip both palms up and reach them towards the front of the room (no handed/turbo side-angle pose)
- Root through your front foot. Step your back foot in a few inches.
- Shift your weight forward as you stand tall, kick your back leg up and externally rotate your thigh as you strongly flex the foot.
- Rotate your torso upwards and reach strongly through active arms.
To release the pose move back through Virabhradrasana II, windmill your hands down to frame your front foot and step back to pahlakasana (plank pose) Enjoy a full vinyasa (chataranga, urdhva mukha svanasana, adho mukha svanasana). Close with Balasana, child’s pose taking 10 deep breaths, ground down. Feel the balance in your body and your mind as you return to your day. Revisit this practice often 🙂