Improve your balance and strengthen your joints this week

Katrina Owens
Lakeside Leader

To start off this week’s pose, Lori Whitby of Slave Lake Smiling Dog Yoga says stand tall at the top of your mat and engage your core muscles.
“As you shift your weight over your right foot, bend your knees and sink down as if to sit in a chair, keeping your chest up and spine straight,” she says. “Lift the left leg higher than the right and draw it up and over the right. Square the hips forward as you squeeze the thighs together and press the standing foot firmly into the ground. Bring arms out to the sides to open up the chest then cross right elbow over the left, in front of the body, and bend the elbows to 90 degrees.”
Whitby adds, “Palms can be together or the backs of hands together, whichever is more comfortable for your wrists. Focus your gaze on something that is not moving, clear your mind and breathe. Hold for 10-30 seconds then switch arms and legs.”
Modifications and props:
Place a yoga block beside the standing leg so you can place the toes of the top leg on it for balance. Instead of crossing the arm, place the palm of the hands together and lift them up to the sky as you draw the elbows together. You can practice this pose lying down with the arms and legs cross in the air for all the pose benefits with added stability.
Beginner’s tip:
Practice shifting the weight in ‘chair pose’ to help you safely build balance.
Practice with your buttocks against a wall as you continue to find your balance and to help build strength.
Benefits:
Strengthens arms and legs, opens hips and shoulder joints. Improves balance.
Cautions:
Begin with modifications if you have low back, knee or hip pain.

Karen and Krista in ‘Eagle pose’.

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