Yoga blog and class notes 17 February 2017
Imagine a see saw perfectly balanced at the mid point with two people at either end – equal in weight for the see saw to remain level. A heavier person would need to move nearer to the middle to keep level, and the centre of gravity in the middle.
We can think of balancing the body in a similar way. If we pick up a heavy bag in one hand, we need to adjust our balance to remain upright. Similarly if we lift one foot off the floor and stand on one leg. We need three main things to keep our balance:
ALIGNMENT (aligning ourselves with gravity)
STRENGTH (to hold that alignment
ATTENTION/FOCUS (to control that alignment)
Our ability to balance becomes even more important when we are walking or moving – trip over a stone or example, and we instinctively start to work on points 1 to 3 above to keep on our feet, and avoid a fall.
Working our balance will go a long way towards keeping ourselves fit and healthy into older age. Yoga can help in two main ways: physically, and emotionally. We all know how hard it can be some days to stand in a simple one legged balance pose because we are wobbling all over the place. This might be because we lack the strength, but it also happens when our minds are unsettled, and we don’t seem to be able to find focus.
There are many different kinds of balance, as we explored in class this week. As well as standing balances such as tree and warrior 3, in which we stand on one leg, we can balance on our sitting bones in boat pose, or one leg and one hand in half moon, or on all fours extending opposite hand and foot.
We can work on challenging our balance, too. If we hug one knee in for a standing knee balance, for example, and then turn the leg out to one side, it becomes harder as we move.
To make it even harder, return to your starting position, and then close the eyes …….Or, stand on something more unstable, such as a soft block, or buckled up yoga mat …
The sketches below are a reminder of some of the balances we’ve done in class. Want to read more on this important topic? Try this article in Yoga Journal.
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