Keeping Balanced Through Yoga
When the mind wanders, one of the first things to go is balance. Regardless if it relates to standing on one leg in a yoga pose, or that you just inhaled a bag of chips without even noticing, the way you come back to balance can be the same.
To illustrate balance, both on and off the mat, we’re using the yoga posture Revolved Hand To Big Toe pose.
Above each image you’ll find suggestions on how to take the concept of balance into your daily life.
Below each image there are instructions for practicing the pose itself. Have fun!
Taking time to set up, and to transition mindfully, are key in the process of remaining standing when things hit the fan. Don’t be afraid to go step-by-step, or at your own pace, even if it feels snail-like.
- Stand firm, but not rigid, on your left leg
- Raise your right knee and reach for your big toe with your right hand
- Have your arm on the inner edge of your leg with your knee hugging in to your outer arm
- Move the top of your left thigh back, so it’s over your ankle (not over your toes)
- Then, pull your right knee higher without leaning back or letting your standing leg pop forward
- Stay in this preparatory stage of the pose and take a few deep breaths
When change happens too fast or too suddenly, it can be uprooting. Some of that is normal, as it is part of the very shift needed to transform. But the process is more graceful and easy if we can maintain some feeling of being grounded, rather than unplugged.
Here are a few things that might help: deep breaths, walking barefoot on grass or sand, being conscious of the earth underneath you, relaxing your weight down towards the ground, taking a body scan to notice (and then release) unwanted tension…
- From the previous pose, press down through the sole of your left foot
- Spread out through your foot, as if making a bigger footprint
- Allow small movements and wobbles to travel through your foot and leg, absorbing (rather than trying to control) the fluctuations
- Now, straighten your right leg to the front, as much as you can without leaning forward (it’s better to engage as if to straighten but stop before you lose balance)
- Stay here for 30 seconds or so
Move From Within
Another way to say this would be to stay centered in yourself. If you move from the periphery —say, prioritizing less relevant things— then you only get peripheral results. For deeper change and more balance as you do it, find your core self, your core values, prioritize those, and move from there.
- Find the midline of your body —the metaphoric place of being centered
- Remain conscious of your center as you switch to holding the outside edge of your right foot with your left hand
- Revolve along the axis of your midline, turning your torso from the center, to face towards the right
- For better balance, keep your gaze soft and forward (you can also look back to your back hand, but move your head very slowly if you do)
- Hold this for 30 seconds too, then unravel the twist and come back to standing with the same grace you used to arrive, mindfully, in the yoga pose
Now repeat the poses on the other leg