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In life and in yoga, it’s all about balance. So, when we had the chance to catch up with celebrity yoga teacher, Kirschen Katz, who counts Reese Witherspoon, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern and more as clients, we had a question or two about how we can improve our balance. After all, it is one of the first things to go (along with bone density—groan) as we age and we’re all about longevity.

Here, Katz shares her four go-to yoga poses to encourage balance, whether you’re a beginner or looking to work your way up to being an asana expert.

1. Tree Pose (Novice)

“Nothing wrong with a basic tree,” Katz says. For those unfamiliar, a tree pose is achieved by placing your weight in one foot and bringing the other up to rest above your knee. If you’re a yoga newbie, keep your palms pressed in prayer pose at the center of your chest and focus on a point in front of you to keep yourself steady. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, raise your arms in the air like Katz is doing in the above photo and take it a step further by closing your eyes.

Kirschen Katz skandasana
Lex Goodman

2. Skandasana (Novice)

Sure, skandasana isn’t too difficult if you’re supporting yourself with both hands on the floor (unless your legs are really tight). But if you engage your core and press your feet into the floor to raise your hands into a clasp, you’ll find it more challenging. Katz says you can up the difficulty aspect by closing your eyes.

Kirschen Katz l stand handstand
Lex Goodman

3. L-Pose Handstand (Intermediate)

Don’t be intimidated by the inversion aspect of this pose. As Katz demonstrates, all you have to do is place your palms on the ground near a wall (or, in this case, a door) and walk your feet up so your body is in the shape of—you guessed it— an “L.” Hold the pose for three to five breaths then walk your feet back down to solid ground.

4. Tripod Headstand (Advanced)

If you’re just getting started, you’ll probably need to work your way up to this. As Katz demonstrates above, place the crown of your head on your mat and your palms firmly below it to form a triangle. Push up into a sort of dolphin pose and then, using your core, slowly raise your legs straight above your head. Hold for several breaths then carefully lower your (straight) legs down. 

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