Find Your Balance

By Courtney Farnet

Life is all about balance. Americans spend too much time balancing work, checkbooks and social lives and too little time working on physical balance— the ability to control body position while moving or stationary.

Balance is the key to all functional movements. It controls posture and allows you to walk, run or bicycle without assistance. Balance is important for injury prevention, joint stability, movement coordination and mental health.

Yoga balance poses align the body’s center of gravity with Earth’s gravitational field, placing the body in equilibrium with a fundamental force of nature. To master a balance pose, one must constantly focus and refocus on the body’s position relative to the environment, thus increasing awareness and bringing equanimity to mind, body and spirit.

Practice yoga balance poses three or more times per week to lengthen and strengthen muscles of the arms, legs and core. Hold each pose for 30 seconds to one-minute. Focus on relaxing the mind and taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.

 

 

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

The foundation of all yoga poses

  1. Stand with feet together, arms relaxed by sides and palms facing forward.
  2. Let bases of the big toes touch and keep heels slightly apart.
  3. Lift the chest. Gently pinch the shoulders back.
  4. Engage the core by drawing the navel inward, tipping the pubis upward and the tailbone downward.
  5. Breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

  1. From Mountain Pose, take a three- to four-foot step back with the right foot. Keep heels aligned.
  2. Left foot is turned at a 90-degree angle and right foot is flattened at a 30- to 60-degree angle.
  3. Square the hips and shoulders to the front.
  4. Drop the hips down and check that the front knee is bent directly over the ankle to protect the knee joint.
  5. Lift the arms overhead, palms facing each other and eyes forward.
  6. Draw the abdominals in and breathe deeply.
  7. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat on other side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

  1. From Mountain Pose, step out to the side with the right foot. Drop the heel to flatten the foot at a 15- to 30- degree angle.
  2. Left foot is at a 90-degree angle with the knee directly over the ankle.
  3. Open the hips and shoulders to the side and keep the shoulders directly over the hips.
  4. Reach the arms out, press the shoulders down and feel length and energy through the fingertips.
  5. If able, drop down so the left thigh is parallel to the floor.
  6. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat on other side.

 

 

 

 

 

Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

  1. From Mountain Pose, take a long step back with the right leg into a high lunge position. Keep the right heal lifted and the left knee slightly bent.
  2. Gently lower the torso over the left knee.
  3. Reach both arms overhead and parallel to the floor. Keep palms facing each other.
  4. Begin to lift right leg as the left leg simultaneously straightens. Drive the left supporting heel into the floor, keep the knee soft and engage the core.
  5. Aim to get arms, torso and right leg parallel to the floor.
  6. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat on other side.

 

 

These and more yoga poses at www.inspirehealthmag.com

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