Stand Firm: 6 Easy Balancing Moves for Your Daily Yoga Routine

By: 
Olga Kabel

My son loves to dig, so anytime we get to the park he zooms straight for the sandbox. And while he blissfully loads and unloads his construction equipment I like to walk around the perimeter of the sandbox. I do it not because I am a helicopter parent who likes to hover, but because the borders of the sandbox are usually just wide enough for one foot and raised enough to give a nice balancing challenge without the risk of tumbling down. My favorite way to walk on those is to step one foot directly in front of the other while swinging the leg out wide when I move it. This type of walking challenges your balance and strengthens your abductors. It also keeps you focused.

Everyday Balance Poses

Our daily lives are full of opportunities for balance training. Waiting in line at a grocery store? Go up and down on the balls of the feet while using your grocery cart to steady yourself if necessary. Riding in an elevator? Lift one foot slightly and practice balancing on one leg as the elevator moves. You can try balancing on your toes or one foot any time—while you cook, brush your teeth, watch TV—and it will help improve your balance. 

 

 

Over the years, I’ve spoken with massage therapists, nurses, teachers, flight attendants and hairdressers who had found opportunities to build balance training into their work life as well, and you can, too! I work at a stand-up desk at home (which I highly recommend), which means that while I read or do other work on the computer I can do any of the movements featured below. This helps with balance training, but also strengthens the hips, prevents lower back tension and keeps me alert.

Test Your Balance

Now let’s take a moment to evaluate your balance first. In his book Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense, Scott McCredie suggests the following test: “While standing on a hard surface, raise one leg about a foot off the ground (you may need to have a chair nearby for support). See how long you can maintain this position.” Research has shown the following averages for this exercise based on age:

20-49 years old – 24-28 seconds

50-59 years old – 21 seconds

60-69 years old – 10 seconds

70-79 years old – 4 seconds

You will need to do this test three times and then average your performance. This is your current balancing ability. Then you can begin integrating simple balancing movements (see below) into your daily routine and then reevaluate your balance in a month or so and see if there is any change.

1. Heel-to-Toe with Leg Swing

2. Walking Backwards

3. Side Weight Shift

4. Front-to-Back Shifting

5. Standing on One Leg

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6. Lift Up on the Balls of the Feet

 

Also from Olga Kabel - How to Train Your Balance: 4 Awesome Ways to Build Strength and Balance through Regular Yoga Practice.

Interested in teaching Restorative Yoga? Study with Judith Hanson Lasater and YogaUOnline - Teaching Restorative Yoga: Revitalize and Rebalance.

Reprinted with permission from Sequence Wiz.

Olga KabelEducated 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.