The 9 Best Yoga Poses for Better Balance

By Julia Sullivan, A.C.E.-certified trainer and senior fitness specialist |

Good balance helps prevent falls. Stay steady on your feet with these balance-boosting yoga postures designed to strengthen your core and lower body.

Best yoga poses for better balance

Balance is one of those things you might only notice when it’s not functioning properly — like after you take a tumble. It’s like driving down a street filled with potholes: You don’t really think about the road you’re driving on until you hit one.

But whereas you can simply fill a pothole, solving balance issues isn’t always so straightforward.

That’s because balance relies on a complex orchestra of multiple systems in the body. This includes your ears, eyes, and central nervous system, plus your skeletal muscle tissue, bones, and joints.

If even one of these systems malfunctions, you could lose your balance, according to the National Institutes on Aging (NIA).

While many balance issues require medical intervention (so it’s critical to check in with your doctor if you notice a problem), your overall stability can be bolstered by improving muscle strength in certain areas of your body.

A study from the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that folks with strong core muscles often have better balance than those with a weaker midsection. Additional research suggests boosting strength in your lower body (specifically the hamstrings, glutes, and quads) can help you better maintain balance.

So how can you strengthen your core and lower body simultaneously? Research shows yoga is one of the safer and more accessible workouts for older adults. A study from the International Journal of Physiotherapy and Research found that older adults who practice yoga generally have better balance than those who don’t.

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Best Yoga Poses for Better Balance

Add these core- and lower body-strengthening yoga moves to your weekly workout routine to boost your balance and stability. You’ll need:

  • Open floor space
  • Yoga mat or thick towel for cushioning
  • Sturdy chair or yoga block for support (if needed)
  • Comfortable, loose clothing (it’s OK to keep your shoes on!)

As always, safety is key. Get your doctor’s OK before beginning a new exercise program. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Downward Dog Chair or Wall

How to do it:

  1. Stand facing a sturdy chair about arm’s length away with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart. (You can place the chair so the seat is facing you, as shown, or so the back of the chair is facing you.)
  2. Hinging from your hips, take a few steps back so that your spine becomes parallel with the floor, or as far as you comfortably can.
  3. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths, or as long as you can.
  4. Bend your knees, and take baby steps toward the chair, rounding your back slightly as you return to standing.

Make it easier: Perform the movement facing a wall, as shown:

Warrior 2

How to do it:

  1. Begin in a staggered stance, with your left foot forward and right foot back.
  2. Turn your left toes out so they’re pointing straight ahead.
  3. Bend your left knee about 90 degrees, keeping your knee above your ankle and heel.
  4. Keep the outer edge of your right (back) foot firmly on the floor. Engage your belly.
  5. Extend your arms out at your sides with your palms facing down and gaze out over the middle fingertips of your left hand.
  6. Breathe here for three to five slow, deep breaths, then
  7. Gently return to the starting position.
  8. Repeat on the other side.

Form tip: To really engage your core and reduce any stress on your lower back, tuck your tailbone slightly. Think about eliminating any curve in your lower back and imagine there’s a string pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling.

High Plank

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and forearms flat on the floor. Focus your eyes between your hands. (You can also do the move with your knees on the floor.)
  2. From here, lift your hips toward the ceiling until your body forms a straight line from head to ankles. (If you’re keeping your knees on the floor, lift your hips so your body forms a straight line from head to knees.)
  3. Hold for five to 10 deep breaths, or as long as you can with good form.

Plank Variations: If the traditional plank is uncomfortable for you, try one of the elevated Plank Progressions found here.

Chair Pose Arms Forward

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, making sure your knees and hips are facing forward. Engage your belly.
  2. Sit back, bending your knees and lowering your hips as if you are hovering over a chair.
  3. Keeping your weight in your heels, reach your arms forward for counterbalance.
  4. Hold here for three to five slow, deep breaths, then press through your feet to return to standing.

Form tip: Try to keep your back in one straight line throughout this pose. If your lower back starts to arch, tilt your tailbone down toward the floor. This will feel much more comfortable!

Bridge Pose Arms Clasped

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart, and heels a few inches away from your buttocks.
  2. Press your arms into the floor for support, and engage your belly to minimize the arch in your lower back.
  3. Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up until your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders.
  4. Clasp your hands underneath your back, feeling a stretch in your upper body.
  5. Breathe here for three to five breaths, then slowly return to the starting position.

Cat Cow


How to do it:

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  1. Start on all fours with your hands below shoulders and knees below hips.
  2. Slowly round your back up toward the ceiling (like a cat) while tucking your chin toward your tailbone.
  3. Reverse the movement by arching your back (think about a cow) while lifting your hips and head.
  4. Do 10 reps total (five with back rounded, five with back arched).

Form tip: Focus on raising your head and tailbone to get into the cow position rather than dumping into your lower back. If you have trouble with floor-based exercises, try the standing cat-cow.

Love these moves? Try a SilverSneakers Yoga Class! This 45-minute class is truly beginner friendly. You’ll be guided through a series of seated and standing yoga poses designed to increase flexibility, balance, and range of motion. It’s offered both in-person at participating SilverSneakers fitness locations, or online with SilverSneakers LIVE.

Tree Pose

How to do it:

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, and your toes, knees, and hips facing forward. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Draw your belly in for support, and lift your chest.
  2. Shift your weight to your right foot. Turn your left toes slightly out, lift your heel, and draw it toward your right foot like a kickstand. Make sure not to put pressure on the ankle joint itself.
  3. You can bring your palms together in front of your chest or hold on to a wall, counter, or sturdy chair for support.
  4. Stand tall, and breathe for three to 12 breaths.
  5. Return to standing on both feet, and repeat on the other side.

Make it harder: Place the sole of your lifted foot inside the calf or thigh of your standing leg. Make sure not to put pressure on the knee joint.

Warrior 3

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your left foot forward and right leg back in a lunge. If you need extra support, perform this move near a wall and with a sturdy chair beside you.
  2. Extend your arms above your head. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Engage the low belly as you lift your chest.
  3. Lift your right foot behind you, and then slowly tip your torso forward, allowing your right leg to extend as you do. Go as far as you comfortably can, and gradually work toward making your back leg and torso parallel with the floor, forming a line from your head to your right heel. You can place your hands on a wall or chair for extra support, if needed.
  4. Keep your right foot flexed, toes pointing to the floor.
  5. Find a focal point to help you balance, and breathe here for three to 12 breaths.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.

Standing Half-Moon With Support

How to do it:

  1. Place a yoga block or sturdy chair within reach of your right ride. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees and hips facing forward. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Separate your feet two to three feet apart, and place your hands on your hips.
  2. Slowly start to tip your weight into your right leg, reaching for the yoga block or chair with your right hand and keeping your left leg straight with foot flexed.
  3. Keep tipping, allowing your left leg to lift parallel to the floor or as high as you comfortably can.
  4. You can keep your left hand on your hip or lift it toward the sky.
  5. Breathe here for three to 12 breaths. Slowly reverse the movement.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

See our sources:
Balance overview: Harvard Health Publishing
Older adults and balance issues: National Institute on Aging
Study on how core strength affects balance: The Journal of Physical Therapy Science
How strength training improves balance: The Journal of Physical Therapy Science
Safety of yoga: American Journal of Epidemiology

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