When I first started practicing yoga, the simplest of balancing poses would have me teetering over again and again. There are days when I still do. What I’ve found is that the balance that I can maintain on my yoga mat is directly related to the balance I am experiencing in my life. With too much coffee, or lack of sleep, sugar and stress, I don’t stand a chance. That said, it seems to work both ways. Bringing my awareness to finding balance in my body helps translate that sense of awareness into other areas of my life.
Here are 3 beginner yoga poses to help you start bringing the idea of balance into your life:
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose): This posture sounds simple, but it forms the foundation of all other poses. Standing with your feet hip distance apart, spread all ten toes and ground down through your feet. Let it feel as though you are drawing the energy up your legs, igniting your muscles. Draw your belly in towards your spine, staying strong in your core, your tailbone dripping down towards your heels. Lift up through the crown of your head, and actively reach your fingertips down towards the ground. Close your eyes and notice how, even here, a seemingly simple standing at attention, balance is in constant negotiation.
2. Vrksasana (Tree Pose): Rock your weight into your right leg; feel the shift. Let the sole of your other foot find a home as high up on your left leg as possible, anywhere but on the knee joint. You may start with your right toes on the earth and heel on your left ankle, working towards the sole of your right foot coming high up into your left thigh. Wherever it is, let your standing leg press actively back into your right foot, your right knee opening up. Draw your palms together in front of your heart in prayer. Spend a few breaths here. If you’d like, you can grow your arms long into the sky. Stay until you lose your balance or your standing leg gives out (enjoy the tumble!), switching sides.
3. High Lunge Pose (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana): From a low lunge with your right leg forward, back heel lifted, press into both feet and inhale to lift your torso, arms reaching toward the sky. Sink into your right knee (no further than knee-over-ankle), with your back leg super strong, thigh lifted and heel reaching back. Make sure your ribs aren’t sticking out, draw your navel in and your tailbone down. Stay here with your breath.
A few thing to keep in mind:
You must be fully present to balance, and one thing that will take you away from the moment is judgment. No matter how many times you fall, remember, it’s no big deal; it’s just practice! Trust that you will eventually get there; the self-aggrandized thoughts do not serve you. Let your gaze (drishti) be focused onto one thing, and maintain it. Remember to breathe.
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