Feb 1 2011

Staying Balanced

Natasha Alexandra Akery

One of the biggest difficulties people face when going to a yoga class is balance. We often spend a lot of the time trying not to topple over, which takes away from our ability to be present and really enjoy the full benefit of the class. A helpful tip for staying sure on your feet is using the force of opposite directions. Let’s look at a couple different poses to see how this works.

Warrior I

Keep your right foot planted and step the left foot back, turning it to a forty-five degree angle while bending into the front knee. Square the hips and lift the arms up above the head, setting your gaze forward. Your central opposites are the left foot behind you and the right foot in front of you. Bend deeply into the right knee while grounding through the outer edge of the left foot into the floor. The force of going forward and also backward is what sets the balance and keeps the stance strong.

Tree Pose

Keep your left foot planted and lift the right, setting the sole of the foot on either the side of the left calf or inner thigh above the knee. Press the palms together at heart center. Your central opposites are the left foot on the floor and the crown of your head. Ground down through your left foot. You can better feel the sensation if you temporarily lift your toes off the floor. Reach the crown of the head up toward the ceiling, lengthening the spine and lifting your torso from sitting heavy on your hips. The force of pressing down and lifting up sets your balance and reduces instability.

All poses have upward and downward directions and most have a forward and backward directions or right to left. Whether you are at a yoga class or practicing at home, explore the opposites of various poses. Instead of fighting them, use their momentum to further your practice and increase the integrity of the poses.