Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Balance…we’re all talking about it. We’re all working on it…on the mat and in our lives…but why?
Let’s start with the yoga mat. First and foremost - it’s fun! Being playful in your yoga practice is a fantastic expression, and trying on new balancing postures is a great way to express that playfulness. Balancing postures are also a true test of strength and focus. If you’re holding that postures past 5 breaths, odds are you are properly engaging the core by starting with lift in the pelvic floor. Your full body is engaged when you balance AND your mind is as well. Your eyes have to find that one singular focus to make it past those 5 breaths, its as if your best friend becomes this tiny spec of dust on your floor. All of the world and worries around you melt away, except for your bond with this spec of dust. This dust spec and you are BFF - the bond is real! Balancing postures can demonstrate your putting all of the physical lessons from your yoga mat together.
Because of all of those aforementioned reasons, balancing can be difficult and it can be a day to day thing. Depending on the amount of energy and enthusiasm we bring to the mat, our balance is going to shift from day to day. A bad night's sleep (hello early motherhood) an agitated mindset (hello all stages of motherhood) are all things that can easily affect the practice of balancing. Not to mention the core engagement requirements. Pregnancy obviously affects core engagement, and until that core strength is built, balancing is going to be a challenge (hello core strengthening series).
My top tips for enjoying your balancing practice:
Clear the mind before you start - try a meditation or a few sun salutations to wash away any clutter that needs to be released.
Squeeze those inner thighs together - this action activates our pelvic floor engagement and it pulls everything into the centre…both are requirements for getting past that 5 breath mark.
Drishti focus - find that one spec of dust and eye gaze the heck out of that spec. Make it your BFF.
Keep practicing - want to master crow pose, or handstand, or standing big toe pose? Come back to your mat every day and practice that balancing posture. This can literally be for 5 minutes, but if you make the time and you will watch the improvement happen. Stay tuned for some balancing drills hitting @updogyogamamas later this week.
One of the top things I enjoy about a regular home practice is the freedom to try out new balances, or harder balances, that I would otherwise not have a chance to tryout in a face to face class. Give yourself that freedom to explore in your safe space - have fun! If you haven’t already, check out the latest postnatal yoga class, Strength in Balance, located inside the members only class library.
Check back in next week for Part 2, a bit more of a philosophical discussion on balance.