Standing balances are difficult because they require leg strength and upper body flexibility in addition to the ability to balance on one leg. This sequence offers a real challenge as you move from pose to pose while keeping the lifted leg off the floor the entire time. Your standing leg may feel shaky as you build strength. Balancing poses also require core strength, so you will also be working the abdominals with the series.
Begin in utkatasana, with both legs bent at the knee.
Bring your weight into your right leg as you lift the left foot off the floor. Keeping the right knee bent, wrap the left thigh over the right, and bring your left foot to hook around behind the right calf. When you feel stable, incorporate your arms into the pose by wrapping the right arm over the left and bringing the palms to touch. Hold here for up to five breaths.
Remove the sole of your left foot from your inner-right thigh, and bring the left knee parallel to the right knee while keeping the left leg bent and the foot off the floor. Hold the inside of your left foot with your left hand as you raise the left knee and right arm up. Hold up to five breaths.
Bring both hands to you hips. Straighten your left leg as you stretch it back behind you. Square your hips to the floor, bringing your lifted left leg and torso parallel to the ground. You can keep your hands on your hips or choose another arm variation. Hold up to five breaths.
Bring both hands the the floor and forward bend over your right leg, lifting the left leg high. Keep the hips squared to the floor for five breaths. You can play with your balance during this time moving your hands closer to your right foot and bringing one or both hands to the right ankle. After the fifth breath, open the hips, stacking the left over the right.
Your hips are already in a stacked position from the previous pose. Lift the left hand from the floor and bring it straight up toward the ceiling. Let your gaze following your hand as you turn head to face upward as well. Flex the left foot strongly. Hold up to five breaths.
Bend the left knee and reach the left hand back to hold the top of your left foot. Press the fott into the hand and the hand into the foot, coming into a back bend. Keep the gaze upwards. Hold up to five breaths.
Bring the left hand down to the floor, under the left shoulder. Square off the hips to the floor. Bring your right hand to your waist. Open your right shoulder toward the ceiling, straightening the right arm up when you are ready. Hold up to five breaths.