Balance poses can be intimidating. You may have enough trouble standing on two feet, let alone on one. Do not let thoughts like that stop you! Like anything else in yoga, you can start small and build up to poses that require more balance as your body adjusts and you learn to trust in yourself. Here are some tips to help you find your balance:
- Recognize that falling and shaking and swaying is part of the fun, and never be afraid to get right back into it. Your standing ankle will shake, rattle and roll, but just go with it. Worst case scenario is that you fall out of the pose. Its kind of entertaining to observe your anatomy struggling to keep you upright.
- When you feel out of balance, look down. From side plank to half moon, looking down always gives you more balance than looking to the side or up. Always start your poses gazing down, and once you feel comfortable, slowly start to take your gaze up.
- Find a focal point. Don’t look around the room or at your teacher. Just find one point and keep an unwavering gaze in that direction.
- Recognize that each day is different. I am extremely comfortable in tree pose, and I’m pretty sure I could stand in it for an hour if I needed to. The other day in class I got into it and my body began to sway a little, until it escalated to a situation that looked more like I was trying to hula rather than hold a stoic tree. I had to put my foot down. Oh-well! I laughed and got back into it. No two days are alike, and some days your body may be steady and calm while others you may be shaky and uncoordinated. Just go with it.
- Breathe. One of the worst things you can do is hold your breath, as it will inevitably lead to a loss of balance. Use your breath to stead your body and as a result you will see a huge difference in your balance. Learn to be conscious of your breath and to recognize when you have stopped breathing!
- There are two sides, and each has a different story. I feel super comfortable in half moon with my right foot down, and less so with my left. We have two different sides, and each joint, bone and muscle has been through their own individual ordeal. Realize that while you may rock a pose on one side, your other side may be a little behind. This is normal, and honor it!
Here are some of my favorite balance poses that you can start to work with:
As always, have fun!!