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Prop Up: Basic Balance Poses

The three brothers of Asana: Warrior 3, Half Moon, Twisted Half Moon. When you see how they look like, you will know what I mean when I call them brothers: they look very similar.


I like all 3 of these Standing Balance Yoga poses. They are the very basic balance that should be practiced regularly to improve one's balance skill. I like straight, simple looking Yoga poses but holding a lot of strength and subtle movement inside them. Warrior 3, Half Moon and Twisted Half Moon are all like that.


WHAT DO WARRIOR 3, HALF MOON AND TWISTED HALF MOON LOOK LIKE?

Warrior 3 is standing on one leg, flexing at one hip for about 90 degree

Halfmoon is standing on one leg, abducting and externally rotating at the hip of the standing leg

Twisted Half Moon is standing on one leg, flexing at the hip of the standing leg for a 90-degree angle like Warrior 3, and rotating (twisting) at the spine.


Did you see how similar they are? As a Yoga teacher, I love introducing these poses to beginners. They are hard enough to be an interesting challenge and simple enough to understand what to do with your arms and legs. Now I will present some ways you can use props (blocks or wall) to discover more of the subtle movements at your hips or spines in these poses:



PROP UP WARRIOR 3

The problems with Warrior 3 is about balance, and about the position of our spine and our hips. The hips should not be turned to the side, but stay ¨square¨ and the spine in a neutral position, with natural curve at the lumbar.


1. Hold BLOCKS!

One option I give when there are no blocks is to hold the floor. However, if your legs are considerably longer than your arms, you may need to bend your knee a lot to keep your spine in a neutral position (or ¨keep your back straight¨). Holding two blocks helps to add balance to the pose so that you have time to be aware of your hips position. Depend on how much you need, you can choose which length of the blocks you will use.


2. Foot on the WALL

This is an awesome support for Warrior 3. With hands holding the blocks and foot placing on a wall, you totally have enough time and balance to stay in the pose and truly feel what your hips and spine are doing. In Warrior 3, it's very common that the hip of the lifted leg will turn to the side, and that results in the toes of your lifted legs pointing out. Here, while your balance is under control, try to turn that hip in and down so that both sides of your hips are facing down (internal rotation at the hip of the back leg).


3. Hands on the WALL

If you don't have blocks, or you want to try something else, let's hold the wall instead. With both hands holding at the wall (or a bar, or the back of a chair), you become quite stable in the pose for a long time, enough to feel what's happening at your hips and spine.


If you have a mirror too? Then you can check yourself in the mirror for your spine and hips position.



PROP UP HALF MOON POSE

The problems with Half Moon is about balance, and about how you can open your legs wide (abduction) and turn your hips and your whole body to the side (actual action: external rotation at your standing leg) much.


1. Hold a BLOCK

We can also reach for the floor, but again, as the legs could be very much longer than the arms, we may have a hard time for that. So instead, we can hold a block of whichever length and be more balanced so that we can focus more on turning the hips, or let's say external rotating at the standing leg's hip.


2. Foot on the WALL

This is awesome. In Halfmoon, one of the problems is that the standing leg can't externally rotate enough so it tends to be turned inward, and you can see that by seeing your toes and your knee pointing in. I have the same problem, and I have seen the problem on many Yoga doers, but in this modification, I can totally fix it and spend time training my hip externally rotators to work.


3. Leaning on the WALL

A good way to encourage your body to turn more to the side, so that you can stack the hips and the shoulders.



PROP UP TWISTED HALFMOON

The thing with twisted Halfmoon is, first of all, balance, and then how your hips should be in a ¨square¨ position from which the spine can rotate (twist) efficiently. When we twist, the hip of the lifted leg tends to be dropped. We should notice and try to avoid dropping it.


1. Hold a BLOCK

Again, holding a block adds space and balance to the pose. I really like putting my hand on the sacrum to really feel how the hips are square and one side of my hip is not falling down as I twist.


2. Foot on the WALL

How much I love foot on the wall! As my foot touching the wall, I can be conscious of my leg and hip position. With the support in balance, I can twist my spine efficiently from the fixed square hips.


3. Leaning on the WALL

This is my most favorite way to do Twisted Halfmoon. I keep the side of my hip touching the wall and make sure it stays there. I actually know whenever it's falling down because it will be sliding down to the wall. The wall also encourages me to twist deeply: I aim to put both of my shoulders on the wall. It's really deep and strong, but at the same time very stable.


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Ha-My Le, RYT500 Vinyasa Yoga Teacher in Malmö, Sweden

Prop Up! is my project on how to make every Yoga pose accessible, with Yoga props that are easy to find like: block, strap, bolster, wall, blanket. #propup

Read more about how you can make other Yoga poses easier:

- Chaturanga Dandasana

- Forearm Stand

- Warrior 3, Half Moon - Basic standing balance poses

- Tripod Headstand

I'm giving Yoga classes in Malmö, Sweden. My classes are often Vinyasa Yoga, open level. I have a clear goal to learn about the body in each Yoga class.



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Ha-My Le, RYT500 Vinyasa Yoga teacher

Tel. +46 76 401 46 26

Email to hamyyoga@gmail.com

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Add 2: Ribevägen 17

Malmö, Sweden

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