The easy way to balance on one foot with your body inches off the ground
Stay on Your Toes
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Most recognizable as being part of the Bikram sequence, tip toe pose requires balance, flexibility, and strength. The full pose asks for a lotus, so I am also giving step-by-steps for the half ankle to knee variation, should lotus be too much for your knees. As with all yoga poses, give this one time and be patient. If you keep coming back to it, it will come to you when your body is ready.
Prep: Kneeling Foot Opener
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Kneel with toes tucked underneath you and hands gently resting on thighs to open up feet. Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Prep: Bound Angle
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Shift to sitting and take feet together and knees apart to come into bound angle pose (butterfly). Try folding forward without rounding the spine too much, and breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Prep: Seated Forward Fold withLotus Leg
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Extend right leg long and place left foot inside of right thigh, or take a half lotus, placing left foot on top of right thigh in right hip crease. Lean forward over right leg and breathe here for 5 to 10 breaths. Repeat with left leg long.
Prep: Half Hero Half Lotus
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Come into hero pose, kneeling with heels outside of butt. (If this is too much for the knees, sit on a block.) Take right foot into left hip crease to half lotus. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, slowly unwind, and repeat on the opposite side.
Prep: Lotus on Belly
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If all of this lotus-ing is fine on the knees, take a full lotus: From sitting with legs long, place right foot in left hip crease. Cross left foot on top to right hip crease. Lay on belly, turning head to the side. Breathe for 5 deep breaths, come out slowly, and repeat with the other foot on top in lotus. (If this is not okay for your knees, skip it.)
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Slowly come up to stand. Balance weight in right foot and place left foot on inside of thigh or shin (not the knee.) Take hands together at center of chest and breathe here for 5 deep breaths. Repeat standing on left leg.
Prep: Half Chair Half Knee to Ankle
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From standing, bend knees, sinking hips back and reaching arms high. Cross right ankle over left knee (flexing right foot to protect knee) and breathe for 5 deep breaths. Repeat standing on right leg.
Standing Half Lotus
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Now that you are all open, it’s time for tip toe: For the lotus variation, balance on right leg and take left foot into right hip crease. Reach left knee toward ground and breathe here for a few breaths.
Standing Forward Fold withLotus Legs
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Keeping left foot where it is, soften through standing (right) leg and forward fold. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths.
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Place fingertips on the ground, start to bend through standing (right) leg, and come high onto ball of right foot, balancing body on right heel. Get comfortable here for a few breaths, then slowly, one at a time, take hands to center of chest, try to balance, and have fun with it. Then try it all on the other side.
Modified Tip Toe
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If lotus isn’t happening and you still want to play around with this pose, from half chair half ankle to knee (with right leg on the ground), forward fold. Take fingertips to the ground, and come high onto ball of right foot, balancing body on right heel. Try one at a time to take hands together at center of chest. Repeat standing on left leg, and remember: This one takes patience, time, and good humor, as you are likely to fall on your bum more than once.
Photos: Vera Boykewich