Balance in Life & Yoga. Standing Balancing Postures
The ability to balance is the key to successful and harmonious life. We have to learn to balance with so many tasks, responsibilities and outcomes. The most difficult probably is the balance with our time - between family, work, friends, hobbies, holidays... very often schedule full for months to come. It's not easy task, building experience for sure make it easier with the time but inevitably we all have the moments when we loss our balance. In many cases this could cause us and the people around us lots of pain, life destroyed and scars that may never heal. That's the reason is so important we to train our ability and endurance to keep in balance, but as well the strength to get up and restore it when we lost it. Because that's the way how we improve and learn, not by being afraid to loss our balance but knowing that we always can find the way to bring back our life in an equilibrium. By mastering the balance we can get to a point that we can keep it no matter what, we just continuously make the needed adjustments.
It is the same process and strategy we implement in learning and improving our asana practice. The balance is key component in each of them but the most intensely we feel it when we practice postures from the group named after this fundamental quality - Balancing poses. There are different subcategories and we will start with Standing balancing poses, the first group that teach us the art of balance. They are usually practiced once the body is warm. They greatly improve the strength of the knees and ankles. As all asanas that involve an element of balance, they will greatly improve mental focus and clarity, as concentration is required to practice these poses effectively.
Some examples of asanas and their benefits:
1) Tree pose (Vriksasana) - improves postural awareness and alignment. It encourages the practitioner to focus on their breathing.
2) Eagle pose (Garudasana) - strengthens the ankles, knees, hips and stretches the shoulders. It improves core stability and can easy pain in the lower back.
3) Dancer's pose (Natarajasana) - improves stamina. It stretches and strengthens all the major joints and greatly improves mental focus. Flexibility of the spine and core stability are also greatly improved.
4) Half Moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana) - stretches and strengthens hips, shoulders and chest. Improves core stability and strengthens ankles and knees.
5) Warrior ||| pose (Virabhadrasana |||) - strengthens the entire body. Because of the intensity of this asana, aerobic and muscles endurance are greatly improved.
Tips for stable performance:
- pick a point to focus on in an angle of approximately 45 degrees in front of you (with the progress you can challenge yourself by moving this point in various angles or even closing the eyes), then lock eyes with it;
- position the standing foot on the ground comfortably, stabilising points: the big toe and the outer edge of the foot, keep them grounded all the time;
- combination of equal parts steady gaze + movement in the desired direction;
- the standing leg is active – ankle, shin, calf, knee, and thigh all working together to support the posture;
- steady the breath, do not hold it, even if it seems easier to hold the posture;
- to come out – reverse the movements, move slow, and keep the gaze until the body is back to a neutral state.
There are different variation of any asana: for beginners using props as well (wall, yoga block/brick, belt), for advanced practitioners variation including more and more complex elements challenging our balance, strength and endurance. It is like in life, we start step by step being helped by our family in each of them, giving us the time to learn, get strong and focus, then it's becoming more and more challenging, testing our ability to keep our life in equilibrium and to stand up when we loss it. This process teach us the art of balance in our life.
Enjoy and stay balanced !
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