YOGA & STRENGTH TIP: BALANCE

Standing on one foot can be challenging.  Heck, sometimes standing on two feet is difficult!  Maintaining balance depends on information received through the eyes (visual system), the muscles/joints (proprioceptive) and balance organs (vestibular system).  Yoga has been known to help with balance as it focuses the mind on the task at hand.  Ever notice if your mind wonders, you may get a little tipsy?

A few things you can do within your yoga practice to help with balance include (but aren’t limited to):

*breathe – sometimes we hold our breath when we concentrate

*dristi – soften the gaze to one object that isn’t moving

*don’t lock your knees –  the muscles don’t engage to keep you up right when the knees lock

*draw towards the midline of the body.  Even if you are taking a limb away from the body, imagine a band pulling it back towards the midline.  This helps to keep you focused on you central/trunk stability

*engage your greatest asset – your glutes.  Bad joke but real advice.  From my experience as a physiotherapist and a yoga practitioner, yogis tend to over focus on flexibility and lack muscle activation, especially in the gluteal region.  A gentle butt squeeze and drawing the belly up will go a long way

*consider your base of support.  If you are working on a pose with two feet on the ground, you may need to take the feet a apart if your balance is really challenged 

And last but not least….

*don’t try to hard.  Have fun with it.  

Some days it strong and stable and other days, its a dance.  Either way its all ok.