4 Yoga Poses to Build Hip Stability and Balance
Article At A Glance
Falls are a very real issue for so many. As we age, balance declines along with some muscle strength. This terrible combination can create a recipe for disaster, leaving many vulnerable to severe and debilitating falls. But, like most things in physical fitness, we can condition our bodies to be better prepared for these life stressors. And we can rebuild balance, muscle, and hip stability to help prevent catastrophic falls.
The hips are very complex joints that allow for a lot of mobility. But they are also inherently very stable structures that are supported by a network of strong connective tissue and muscle. These tissues all create a tensional system surrounding the hips that allow for stability. But this only works optimally when all the tensional system parts apply equal tension across the joints.
So, of course, a great way to build hip stability is to strengthen the connective tissue and muscular tissue around the hips. And not surprisingly, balance postures are excellent hip stabilizers. So you can build hip stability while practicing yoga for balance!
4 Yoga for Balance Poses to Build Hip Stability to Help Prevent Falls
For these poses, you will likely want to have some clear wall space that you can use for support, along with one or two yoga blocks.
1. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
This yoga for balance posture requires hip stability and activation and, of course, balance as you stand on one leg.
- Come to stand with some clear wall space about a foot away from your right hip. Rest your right hand on the wall to help stabilize your balance.
- Focus your eyes on one non-moving point in front of you and keep your gaze locked there.
- Shift your weight into your right leg, and lift your left foot off the floor when you feel steady.
- Open your left hip by pointing your knee toward the left.
- Option to release the ball of your left foot to the floor and rest your left heel onto your right ankle. Option to place your whole left foot on your inner right calf. Option to place your whole left foot on your inner right thigh.
- Wherever you choose to be, actively press your left foot into your right leg and use the same amount of energy to press your right leg into your left foot. Feel how this equal and opposite push of energy helps to level your hips.
- Activate your outer right hip by hugging it in toward your hip socket and root your right foot firmly into the floor.
- Option to place your left hand on your hip or stretch it up toward the sky.
- Hold for about 5 to 10 full, deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.
2. Warrior III Pose (Virabhadrasana III)
This challenging yoga for balance posture forces you to activate both hips strongly to stabilize the position.
- Stand in front of some clear wall space. Stretch your right leg in front of you to tap the wall so you can measure one of your leg’s distances away from the wall. Once you find this distance, turn away from the wall so your back is facing it and you are one leg’s distance away from it.
- Place your blocks at their highest height, setting them on the floor in front of you about shoulder-distance apart.
- Ground down evenly into your feet and spread your toes to create a large surface area of contact with your mat.
- Gently hinge from your hips and fold forward over your legs. Rest your hands on the blocks in front of you.
- On an inhalation, lift your torso about halfway up to draw it roughly parallel to the floor. Readjust your blocks so that they stack directly underneath your shoulders.
- Look down at the floor and lock your gaze onto one non-moving point.
- Pour your weight into your right leg. When you feel steady, lift your left leg off the floor and stretch it straight back behind you to touch the wall. Kick firmly toward the wall and draw your leg up as high as you comfortably can, ideally to about the height of your hip.
- Stretch the crown of your head forward with the same amount of energy as you kick back toward the wall behind you.
- Level off your hips and inwardly spiral your left thigh bone so that your toes point down toward the ground.
- Energize throughout this shape and hold for about 5 to 10 deep breaths. Slowly release and switch sides.
3. Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
Another challenging yoga for balance posture, Half Moon Pose requires you to strengthen your outer hip muscles as you lift up against gravity, creating—you guessed it!—lots of hip stability.
- Stand in front of some clear wall space with your right hip touching the wall.
- Place one block on its highest height setting on the floor in front of you.
- Gently hinge from your hips and fold forward over your legs. Place your right hand onto the block in front of you.
- On an inhalation, lift your torso about halfway up to draw it roughly parallel to the floor. Readjust your block so that it stacks directly underneath your right shoulder.
- Look down to the floor and lock your gaze onto one non-moving point.
- Pour your weight into your right leg. When you feel steady, lift your left leg off the floor and stretch it straight back behind you.
- Draw your left leg back toward the wall behind you.
- Kick back firmly through your left heel and stretch the crown of your head forward.
- Lift your left leg as high as you comfortably can to strongly activate your outer hip muscles.
- Energize across your whole body as you hold the shape for about 5 to 10 deep breaths. Slowly release and switch sides.
4. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
This fierce squatting posture builds strength across all sides of your hips.
- Stand in front of some clear wall space with your back touching the wall behind you.
- Walk your feet out about as wide as your shoulders and turn your heels in and your toes out slightly.
- Bend your knees deeply and slide your back down the wall behind you as you sink your hips low into a squat.
- Stay low in your squat for about 5 to 10 deep breaths. Slowly rise back up and repeat about two more times.
Help Prevent Falls by Building Hip Stability With Yoga for Balance Postures
Falls are scary and can be truly debilitating. But you can equip yourself to better control your balance and hip stability with just a few yoga poses.
While these postures are definitely challenging, you can modify them in many ways to make them work for your body, experience level, previous injuries, and so on so that you can effectively build strength and balance to empower you in your everyday life.