Success is a balance. Balance is both physical and mental benefit. Physically, we strengthen our muscles, improve flexibility, muscular control, and body awareness, find out an own center of gravity, and how to align ourselves. While mentally, we’re learning to keep the attention focused on what’s essential at the moment, disregarding external factors.
A Little Trick
Imagine: you’re standing on one leg in Vrksasana and looking at my motionless raised hand. Is it easy? Rather yes. And now I’m starting waving with my hand and… you lose your balance immediately. Now imagine you’re again standing in a Tree Pose on the mat. Got the balance? Ok. And now try to do the same on two bricks. That’s more difficult, yeah? And now… close your eyes! – Completely different impressions.
So, what muscles are in charge of the balance? – The brain muscles are! Let’s see how it works: every thought is reflected in the body, and the body sends signals to the brain, so the body balance = the brain balance… right?
What’s The Use of Balance Poses in Yoga?
It’s not a secret that yoga helps to develop coordination and balance – the skills, which come in handy both in various life situations and when practicing other sports like fitness, dancing, martial arts, tennis, and many others.
Most yogic balance poses help in:
- reducing the likelihood of injuries and sprains;
- improving spatial orientation;
- increasing agility;
- relieving stress;
- Strengthening your legs, ankles, and arches of your feet and making muscles work consistently;
- developing a sense of rhythm and focus.
Improving The Balance And Equilibrium: How-To Guide
Practice Makes Perfect
Just like everything we’re learning to do, developing balance requires commitment, concentration, intention, ability to hold on and let go, and practice, practice, practice. “I’ve been working on the Half Moon pose for ages, but I still wobble, what should I do?” – Do it again and again until you cope!
Face Your Challenge
Every yogi has an own challenge. Despite all your efforts, you’ll probably have a pose or two, which will be hard nuts to crack, just take this.
Keep your mind calm and relaxed, focus on how the weight is distributed, breath slow and steady. You can choose a fixed point not too far ahead and gaze at it to reduce distractions and concentrate.
Take It Out of Yoga Class
Another tip on improving your balance is to try doing some easy balancing stuff outside the yoga class – anytime and anywhere. For example, you can challenge yourself in the mornings to put on pants without wobbling and placing it back on the floor, or when doing the dishes, balance on one leg at a time.
Stick to the Step-By-Step Approach
Start small: try Tree Pose with one hand on the wall, with heel on the ankle and toes on the ground – you don’t have to look like the picture at once. A step or two up would be Warrior III with hands on the wall, which gives you stability to work on the finer points of the pose and strengthen muscles as well. Aim for taking it to the next level – gradually add more difficult elements to the pose (keep hands off the wall, close your eyes, do it 30 seconds longer, raise the legs higher).
Don’t Be Afraid to Fall Down
Looks like, we’re back to the idea that the body balance depends greatly on the brain balance. As soon as you get rid of your fear to fall, you’ll be able to do much more. There’s nothing awful in falling out of your pose – learn to laugh at it, take it easier.
Basic Balance Poses in Yoga
The most basic yoga balance pose is just standing on 1 leg. You can do some leg lifts, hold your knee bent at 90° and worked towards standing nose to knee, balancing stick.
Tree Pose is very basic too:
You can also try Eagle Pose
Or an awkward Chair Pose
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Getting away from too basic yoga, you can go for Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)
Extended Triangle Pose
One-Handed Tiger Pose
Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
Natarajasana (Dancer’s Pose)
Balance Training for Advanced Yoga
When you get proficient in all balance poses, it turns into a bit boring routine that doesn’t develop your skills a lot (just keeps them on the same level). If you feel something like that, it’s time for experiments: you don’t fall when standing still, but what if you’re moving, transitioning and adjusting? Take your yoga up to the next level, mastering transitions like Mountain-Chair-Tree, or Down Dog-Lunge-Warrior, and developing power. Once you’ve coped with the flow, add speed into it, repeating the sequence three times in a row faster and faster.
We’re spending days balancing our work and personal stuff, while completely neglecting our literal sense of balance. Remember, everything’s connected, so it’s time to improve your balance.
Written by Helen Rogers http://thecrossfitshoes.com/