We spend our lives trying to find balance in what we do, whether it be balancing our checkbook, time, or our diet. Improving our physical balance is also important, especially as we age. Balance is control. For example, once you learn how to balance while riding a bike, you can control the movements to make an even flow. Similarly, body balance promotes an even flow and prevents injury.
As a yoga instructor, I often hear people say, “I’m just no good at balancing.” Just like you must ride a bike to get the hang of it, you have to practice balance to keep yourself in control. Balance is learned and improved upon with practice. When we balance the lower extremity, we build strength in the standing leg. This strength adds to confidence in balance and improves the efficiency of daily movements like walking and even playing sports. Proprioception, the ability to know where your body is in place and time, is required for every move we make. You challenge this spacio-visual capacity when you practice balancing. Balance and proprioception go together to help prevent injuries and keep you moving young!
The pose below is yoga’s modified version of Tree Pose:
- Place your hands on your hips and stand with weight evenly distributed between both feet
- Ground into the left foot, plugging the four corners of the feet into the mat
- Gently bring up the right foot and rest the foot above the ankle and below the knee on the standing(left) leg.
- Think about engaging the core, tucking the pelvis, keeping the torso straight and strong and rolling the shoulders back and down.
- Find a gazing point 4 feet in front of you and focus on your breath
- Bring your hands off your hips and to heart center
- Hold the pose until you feel unstable, come back into it if you fall out
- Repeat on the other side.