Whether you’re a runner, a gym rat or a little of both, improving coordination and balance can go a long way for your workouts. Both of these are integral to reducing your chances of injury as well as enhancing each and every workout. Experts at MindBodyGreen.com agree:

“Why is this important? Better balance and coordination means enhanced control over how I move my body, which in turn leads to better technique and form – the brass ring every athlete spends a career refining, whether your focus is a swim stroke, golf swing, running stride, jump shot or wrestling move.”

Ready to get started? Lucky for you, it doesn’t take much to start practicing. With even a little bit of knowledge you can begin improving today.

What You Need: The Basics

Just because all your friends are taking the latest and greatest yoga class, doesn’t mean you have to pay to get the same experience. While it is beneficial to try a variety of yoga classes and techniques, you can get stared in the local gym or even your own living room. With a few basic items, you can begin improving your balance and coordination right away.

–  Towel/yoga mat: It’s preferable to have a regular or yoga specific mat, however a towel can be used if you don’t have one yet. Find them at Amazon for as little as $6.50.

–  Space: You are going to need space to perform each pose and focus on the movement you are doing.

–  Guidance: Whether you have a book, are following a YouTube video or ripped out a magazine workout, you’ll want some guidance to get started. Ensuring each pose is correct is critical to reaping these benefits. Otherwise you can end up inuring yourself or pulling a muscle.

Getting Started with a Few Moves

A few simple moves are all you need to get started with your yoga practice. Choosing the ones that are specific to balance and coordination is important to realizing all the benefits.

Tree pose: This is a great place to start; it is simple and adaptable to all skill levels. This improves core strength as well as balance and overall coordination.

–  Put your palms together in front of your chest, elbows out. Root your feet to the ground and move your right heel to your left ankle, allowing your toes to touch the ground. Slowly move this foot up to your shin; hold for 5 deep breaths and switch sides.

Crane pose: Also known as a tripod post, this is a bit more advanced, this pose stretches your back while strengthening your arms, shoulders and abs.

–  Put both hands and knees on the ground shoulder width apart. Move onto your toes, pull your legs forward putting your arms between your legs so you can lean your knees onto your elbows and lift yourself up. Slowly lift onto your elbows and allow your back to fully stretch.  Pull your feet together for better balance and form.

Other basic poses include:

–  Head stand

–  Shoulder stand

–  Plough pose

A few simple yoga poses can go a long way in improving your balance and coordination. As an athlete, working on both will improve your strength and endurance while reducing chances of injury. Incorporate a yoga flow into your weekly routine; try once a week to get started and go from there.