Balance is built on three essential elements—alignment, strength and attention. But what do you do until balance becomes second nature in your yoga practice? The answer is in the falling.
Four poses for better balance are the Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Tree Pose (Vrksasana), Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) and Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana). When integrating these poses into your yoga sequence, practice them with the focus of falling and centering, centering and falling.
Although the Mountain Pose is a starting place for all standing poses, it is useful for practicing as a pose in itself. Stand with your weight balanced evenly across your feet, shoulders back and relaxed, and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Practice making your pose strong without making it rigid. Find your center and keep it for 15 to 25 breaths.
Many people already feel stable in the Extended Triangle Pose, but this sense of stability comes from being tapered toward the front body. Bring your head behind your heart and put your heart in the same plane as your pelvis. Play with falling back slightly and finding a new center of balance. Hold the pose for 10 to 15 breaths per side and repeat 1 to 2 times on each side.
By practicing falling and centering in these poses, you will soon learn that falling does not have to have an adverse effect on your balance. You do not have to fall away from something; you can fall inward as well, toward your center.