Honing Your Balance: Yoga Practice for Static and Dynamic Balance Training
My son loves to watch this one YouTube video of Danny MacAskill riding his bike across the rooftops of Gran Canaria. Needless to say, this type of physical performance requires unbelievable strength and balance that is beyond the capacity for most of us. In our daily lives, we are mostly concerned with keeping our balance in the upright position on our own two feet, especially if we miss a step, slip in a bathtub, or trip over a tree root. That is why standing balancing poses are relevant and important to all of us.
Some of those balancing poses can look rather intimidating. It is not so easy to stand on one leg and attempt to hold the toes of the other, extended leg (as you would do in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) or stand on one leg and pull the other foot toward the head behind you (as you would do in Natarajasana (Dancer Pose). Those poses can certainly be a fun challenge to tackle, but you don’t need to practice them to train your balance. One common expression that applies well here is “work smarter, not harder.”
In any balance pose our goal is to maintain balance, regardless of whether your toes are barely touching the floor or barely touching your head. As you will see in the practice below, even the most basic balancing poses can be rather challenging if we hold them for a while and maintain a steady breathing pace. In fact, simpler poses are more preferable in training balance because here you are focusing on the balancing aspect of the pose rather than spinal mobility, hip flexibility, hamstrings pliability and all other additional factors that come into play in more difficult poses.
The yoga practice below contains a number of simple standing balancing poses that will help you train both your static and dynamic balance. Feel free to modify the poses in a way that is appropriate for you (for example, it is completely up to you how deep you go into Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III). Please pay attention to your breathing and see if you can use your inhalation to create more length and more support (via progressive abdominal contraction on the exhalation).
More on yoga & balance training from Olga Kabel – How to Train Your Balance: 4 Awesome Ways to Build Strength and Balance Through Regular Yoga Practice.
Study core strength and so much more with Olga Kabel and YogaUOnline – Yoga for Posture Improvement with Focus on Core Strengthening and Axial Extension.
Reprinted with permission from Sequence Wiz.
Educated as a school teacher, Olga Kabel has been teaching yoga for over 14 years. She completed multiple Yoga Teacher Training Programs but discovered the strongest connection to the Krishnamacharya/ T.K.V. Desikachar lineage. She had studied with Gary Kraftsow and American Viniyoga Institute (2004-2006) and received her Viniyoga Teacher diploma in July 2006 becoming an AVI-certified Yoga Therapist in April 2011. Olga is a founder and managing director of Sequence Wiz- a web-based yoga sequence builder that assists yoga teachers and yoga therapists in creating and organizing yoga practices. It also features simple, informational articles on how to sequence yoga practices for maximum effectiveness. Olga strongly believes in the healing power of this ancient discipline on every level: physical, psychological, and spiritual. She strives to make yoga practices accessible to students of any age, physical ability and medical history specializing in helping her students relieve muscle aches and pains, manage stress and anxiety, and develop mental focus.