One of the most challenging parts of yoga can be maintaining balance. It takes a lot of mental and physical strength to move into a Dancer Pose or Warrior III and can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t seem to keep a stable position. Balance is key for yoga, and it helps build up your mental and physical strength because of the concentration required. However, if you feel you naturally don’t have very good balance or are kind of clumsy, balance poses may feel off limits or like a challenge you don’t want to try. There are poses though that can help you achieve better balance and have quicker reaction times, so, you are less likely to fall and experience an injury. This may not seem important now, but as we age, preventing falls becomes more and more important. Give these poses a try and see if they help you!
Mountain pose is a great starting point. It may seem strange that a pose where you’re standing on both feet could help with balance. In true mountain pose, you are generally evaluating where your weight is in your feet and making sure you are pressing each part of your foot into the ground. This will really help you to pay attention to your balance, and if you want extra practice, close your eyes!
A natural transition from mountain pose is into tree pose. The time you spent evaluating where your weight is balanced in your feet in mountain will help you as you shift your weight to the standing leg and lift the other leg to either your thigh or your shin, avoiding the knee. The hands are lifted and clasped over the head. This is a safe pose to work on your balance with because if you lose your balance, your leg just needs to come down to prevent your fall. It will help you to practice your grounding before moving on to more challenging poses.
Chair pose is another great pose that you do with both feet on the ground but helps improve your balance. It is performed by standing with your feet hip width apart, lifting your hands in the air, and bending your knees. You can lift your toes for extra balance benefit, but this is another pose that will help see how your balance is distributed between your feet.
High lunge, and especially moving into it, can be a challenging pose. Both feet will still be on the ground, but you will need to use your core muscles to really work on staying upright. Perform high lunge by starting with your hands on the ground in a runner’s lunge, lift your torso up, and lift your arms up. The palms should be facing each other. Your front knee should be parallel to the floor. Keep your back leg straight, and really pull back on your hip to keep your hips squared.
These poses are primarily for a beginner or someone hesitant to try other balance poses. They will help you to focus on you how your weight is balanced throughout your body so that you will be able to move quicker to catch yourself, if need be, and safely transition to poses better. What balance poses would you like to try?