Keys to Finding Stability in Balance Poses
Updated: May 30, 2019
"If you are losing your balance in a yoga pose, reach higher. You will steady yourself."
Balance poses are essential to practice in order to maintain a centered self. Implementing a variety of balance poses engages the entire body, you allowing a connective energy to flow from tips of the fingers to the roots of your feet. For some lucky yogis out there, balance is second nature, but for a lot of us, staying steady while breathing our body into standing balance poses can be a challenge. Today I want to share with you some tips I've learned over the years to help find stability & serenity in balance poses.
Let's start with the most important, and probably the most obvious things to be aware of during balance poses: be mindful of your breath. A consistent flow of energizing inhalations followed by deep exhalations should be present throughout your entire practice, but especially flowing through balance poses. I've noticed people often times hold their breath during poses because they think that the breath may somehow throw them off. On the contrary, the breath stabilizes and creates an abundance of strength in the form of oxygen and energy. A steady breath carries more weight in keeping the mind cool & collected than anything else. Try using your breath as a unit of measurement during your balance poses. While holding your pose, breathe naturally and count the number of inhalations and exhalations. The focus on the count may work as a healthy distraction to keep you focused and still.
What really helps me keep a sense of focus is fixing my sight on something either right in front of me or slightly above my eye line. Some people recommend looking down at the ground or down when holding balance poses, but I disagree. Though yes, the ground is a fixed, non-distracting object, I believe that visually connecting with something in front or above your sight level stimulates the mind by metaphorically allowing yourself to think and be at a higher level. It really is metaphorical in my opinion. If you set your sights low, your outcome (whether in practice or life) will be low. If you set your sights in line with or above your natural eye line, your outcome will reflect a balanced or higher experience. Of course if you find that locking in on the ground proves pleasant results for you, by all means, continue! I encourage you to do what feels right in your mind & body. I just find that higher sights stem a higher level of consciousness through positivity, allowing the body to follow suit.
The final piece of advice that stuck with me and continues to aid me through shaky poses is to always reach higher. When you feel the foundation begin to wobble, I like to imagine there is an imaginary string pulling from the tips of my fingers and crown of my head to the clouds and I instinctively reach just a little bit higher while simultaneously tightening my muscles. When in doubt, reach for the universe, and the universe will provide.
Above all, be sure to start your poses with a strong grounding, locking the corners of your foot into the mat while slightly gripping inwards as if you were trying to pull the mat together. The toes should be there for support, but the weight of responsibilities should lie in the pad of the foot. Remember to keep your core engaged, for that is the center of everything balance and plays a major role in keeping the body in control. Practice makes perfect, so stay positive! Remember, we create our realities. If you envision yourself in a strong & beautiful dancer pose (Natarajasana) you will achieve that vision. Keep gratuity in your mind and heart open and amazing things will come your way.