‘Mentally and emotionally, working on our balance helps us develop a keener focus as well as the ability to keep an even keel despite the inevitable wobbles that arise in life.’ (Rachel Land)
Centenary Yoga’s theme for 2023 is Balance and through our practise and Newsletters, we will explore balance in detail.
*Send through any Balance related questions at any time and chat with your teachers about balance.*
In 2023 we’ll explore balance postures and using Yoga as a tool to bring more Balance into your life.
Think Tree Pose.
You will practise balance postures in each and every class. Every standing posture (even the two legged ones) are an opportunity to work on our balance. Balance poses offer tangible benefits: physically, balancing helps us access our core: the deep postural muscles that coordinate the separate parts of our bodies into an integrated whole. Tree Pose (vrksasana) is a common pose to practise and improve your balance.
We can all do it!
We can all currently balance, to some point or other, so balance in our practise is very accessible to everyone. We can all improve our balance, so it’s a skill we can practise. And feeling more physically balanced improves our confidence which feeds into our emotional and mental balance. And because balance is a learned skill, to maintain or improve it, we must challenge it!
Setting an intention
Balance is a simple intention to set for life, and for any practise. Sometimes teachers will invite you to set an intention for class. In those first few minutes as you are settling and breathing, and in your final relaxation, you might like to use the intention “I am balanced.” A simple intention focuses your physical practise & reaches into your subconscious and invites change. Balance reminds me to self-care.
Connecting with our feet
Again, think Tree pose. In our standing balance poses, we connect with our feet. As we culturally stuff our feet into shoes for much of the day, connecting to our feet, let alone balancing on one foot, can be instructive and challenging. Balances are grounding postures and keep us very much in the present moment with breath and body sensations: swaying, wobbling, focussing and sometimes toppling. And feeling parts of our feet that are usually ignored or unfamiliar. (Four corners of feet?? more next Newsletter)
Our feet are the foundation of standing balance. Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, all of which work together to provide support, balance and mobility. During our standing balances we explore these
Pro-prio-ception is the sensory awareness of our body in space. Can you touch your nose with your eyes closed? Lift your leg into tree pose without looking at it? Proprioception includes the awareness of posture, weight, movement, and limb position in relation to our environment and according to the other parts of our body.
Let’s start by improving proprioception (or sensory awareness) in our feet. Can you distribute your weight between the balls of our feet and our heels? Smoothly? Right now, can you spread your toes, feel and lift your arches?
or can go a long way toward helping us stand stronger—both on the mat and off it.Small practises such as these bring awareness back into your body and your posture and help strengthen your balance, both on the mat and in life.
Next Newsletter: Does Age affect our balance and Dr Michael Mosley’s scale to test your balance.