Extended Leg Balancing - Overview
Beginner: With a very fluid feel, Extended Leg Balance is fun and challenging. Focus on feet grounded feet and square hips. When arms are raised overhead, there should be no tension in the shoulders. Earth-Rain breath body link pulls grounding energy from the earth while showering the mind and body with positive energy flow. Elbows seal as you lift your hands on the inhale. Drop shoulders and release tension on the exhale breath. Keep your weight balanced on both legs and feel grounded in your feet through the link.
Advanced: Extended Leg Balancing is an energizing practice! With fine attention to every nuance of this sequence, the breath and the body, you will not ever have a static moment, but instead find a graceful and fluid flow that carries through the entire sequence. The link is Earth-Rain. Focus on creating energy in the palms of the hands and as the forearms and elbows connect on the inhale lift. Drop the chin and lift from the head as your arms rain down on the exhalation. Feel grounded in your feet and tuck your tailbone gently under.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold
Beginner: Concentrate on turning your toes in slightly. Begin to use the entire surface of your foot to ground and balance your body; this is challenging as we seldom try to control different parts of our feet. Give it a try in this strengthening pose. Hand placement should be even with your shoulders but do not worry if your hands do not touch the ground with straight legs. Bend your knees deeply for now and be patient with the tight muscles at the back of the thigh.
Advanced: Balance is not a problem as you sink into forward fold. Focus on improving the flow of oppositional energy in this pose. Lift from your tail bone so the spine can release down. Use the grounding force of your legs to push your tail higher, as you sink your head lower. Ground down with your palms and, if you are comfortable, you can bend your elbows deeply.
Warrior I Pose
Beginner: Begin with an awareness of your alignment. Your front knee should bend to be in line with your foot and go no further. This protects the knee from injury. Keep your hips and shoulders even. Is your back leg completely straight? Is your weight evenly distributed across both legs? You should feel all points of your foot pressing into the ground.
Advanced: As an advanced practitioner, Warrior I is a strong and confident pose for you. Bring your focus to your tail bone, dropping it down and tucking it under as you lift your chest and shoulders up and back. Feel the energy from your core extend through the sides of your waist and straight up through your arms to your fingertips. Take your gaze up to the fingers, feeling the power of your focus.
Extended Leg Balance
Beginner: Beginners can strengthen their abdominals and back through extended leg balancing. Use your arms to help maintain your balance as you straighten the lifted leg. Do not worry about how high you can raise your leg. The leg is lifted by energizing the muscles of the leg and using the abdominal muscles for support. With time and continued practice, you may begin to rasie your leg higher and more steadily.
Advanced: Use the energy of the standing leg to gain more strength from the extended leg balance. Are your shoulders down? They should stay relaxed and low, even as your arms are raised. Keep your spine really straight and reach through the foot on the raised leg. You can alternate pointing the toes and flexing the heels through the sequence.
Warrior III Pose
Beginner: Warrior III provides another way for the beginner's body to experiment with flight. Abdominals again are very important in this position, keep them engaged as you tilt the whole of the body from vertical towards horizontal. However far you can go into the posture today is fine. The most important part is making the line of the body very straight.
Advanced: Your body finds warrior III easily. Think of energizing the whole grounding leg and pushing the body higher with that leg. Keep your hips even. Is the foot and knee of the lifted leg pointing down? Try not to rotate them out. Reach from the sides of the waist through the arms and even the fingers.