Tree, Eagle, Warrior Three, Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe, Lord of the Dance, Half Moon and Bird of Paradise pose are just a few of many standing balance poses that challenge our focus, stability and strength. This class of poses demands our undivided attention and awareness, but offers an array of amazing benefits including reducing anxiety, building strength in the legs, hips and core, promoting concentration, and encouraging a sense of calm.
It can sometimes feel as if you are using every ounce of concentration so that you don't wobble and fall over in a standing balance pose. In addition to practicing these poses more regularly and consistently, here are 9 key tips and actions to help you find stability in standing balance poses.
1. Press down through the four corners of your feet.
Strengthen your foundation and standing leg by pressing down through all four corners of your feet to create a solid base. This effectively also helps to distribute the weight evenly to help you maintain balance.
2. Spread your toes.
Fanning your toes out helps to increase the surface area of your base and therefore boosts your stability.
3. Engage your quadriceps by pulling up your kneecaps
When you pull your standing leg's kneecap up, it has the effect of engaging your quadricep – activating this large muscle helps to better support the weight of the body. If your knees tend to hyperextend, this action can also help to avoid locking the joint.
4. Pull the navel towards the spine to activate your core.
Leverage your core muscles to help maintain your center of gravity – one way to achieve this is to draw your belly button inwards towards your spine.
5. Use your arms.
Ever wonder why tightrope walkers sometimes hold their arms out to their sides? One effect of doing this is lowering the center of gravity and shifting the weight evenly for enhanced balance.
6. Find a gazing point.
Visual input is an important way for the brain to help the body maintain balance, and this is why it often helps to find a stationary gazing point to minimize visual distractions and gain equilibrium.
7. Visualize the pose.
In addition to finding a gazing point, it often helps to picture the pose in your mind so that the brain "knows" what movements are needed to get into and stay in the pose.
8. Keep breathing.
When we concentrate really hard, we often hold our breath. However, by continuing to breathe evenly and steadily we encourage mental stability and focus to balance more effortlessly.
9. Use a wall.
The best way to strengthen the muscles needed to help us stay balanced is to practice the poses consistently. In order to help the body become familiar with the muscle movements needed within the pose, you can practice with your back against the wall or use one hand against the wall for support.
Standing balance poses can be challenging, but have fun and enjoy the process of finding balance. If you find yourself feeling wobbly and falling over, all you have to do is shake it off and try again! What are some other techniques you use to find stability in standing balance poses?