There are many yoga poses that help us improve our balance and equilibrium. Some balance poses we do on our feet, others on our hands, or even our head. All of these balance poses benefit us in many different ways, but they have some things in common.
Balance poses offer us both physical and mental benefits. Physically, we strengthen and elongate our muscles, get to know our center of gravity and how to align ourselves, improve the function of the equilibrium receptors in the body, and learn the important yoga principle of rooting down.
As for mental benefits, balance poses teach us how to keep our attention focused and disregard external stimulation, how to stay steady in one place for a while, and how to find inner center and equanimity—all these are important qualities both on and off our yoga mat.
Here are my seven tips to help you do balance poses.
- Start the pose from the base, broadening the surface of touch with the ground and rooting it down, may it be a hand, a foot, both hands or both feet, the forearms, or the head.
- Keep your gaze gently fixed on one point not too far ahead.
- Move into and in your balance poses slowly and consciously; abrupt movements can shake us out of balance.
- When needed, use your hands, a wall, or a fellow yogi for support or to gain stability.
- Pay attention to the position and movement of the head because an important part of our equilibrium system is located in the inner ear.
- Keeping your breath calm and steady can help a lot to stabilize mind and body.
- Don’t be afraid to fall dawn! Adopt the attitude of a child playing, and learn to laugh if you fall out of your pose.
Balance poses can be hard and frustrating for some, especially in the beginning. But the good news is that consistent practice makes it a lot better. Then one day, you will just suddenly find yourself doing it with a big smile on your face—even if you fall!