Fall 2018 week 3: Balance

Balance involves not only the body’s ability to find its ever-changing place in the world viz. gravity, but also equanimity of mind – and the physical and psychological components of balance can both support and detract from each other. We need core, focus, and breath – the link between the physical and psychological -to achieve balance/equanimity, the magical place between effort and ease, in asana practice and in life. So, let’s practice!

Vrksasana | Tree pose

Draw energy up inside of standing leg.

Crescent lunge & Balanced Warrior I

Top photos: Remain on ball of back foot as you lower knee to hover just above floor.
Bottom photos: draw heel down as for standing poses, then lift both heels up and arms reach out; back leg remains straight.

Utthita padanghustasana | Hand to big toe pose

Step into strap, straighten leg, and extend forward, to side, adding twist only if your balance is steady. Keep seat bones level at all times (uplifted leg’s sit bone tends to hike up).

Natrajasana variations | Dancer’s pose variations

Hold back foot from inside and keep knee moving back (not to side). Push front of hip of uplifted leg forward, draw abdominals in strongly.
Keep elbows near ears, draw shoulder blades down. Push front of hip of uplifted leg forward, draw abdominals in strongly.

Happy, healthy balancing! 🙂

~namaste,

Sylvia

Author: Sylvia Vitazkova, PhD, CYT

Dr. Sylvia K. Vitazkova is a certified yoga teacher, life coach, horsewoman, and conservation biologist. Sylvia’s formal study of yoga began while she was an undergraduate at Cornell University, and intensified when she began to practice Ashtanga Yoga in 1997 while attending Columbia University for doctoral studies in biology. Sylvia soon realized that she wanted to help others experience the consciousness and transformation that her own practice fostered in her and began to teach in 1998, subsequently studying in Mysore, India, in 2002. Sylvia continues to evolve her practice by learning from senior teachers, the most influential of whom has been Barbara Benagh. Her teaching focus is on correct alignment, the joy of being fully present in one’s body, and the psychological and spiritual context within which the physical practice is embedded. Parallel to being a yoga teacher, Sylvia had a full-time career as a professor of Conservation Biology, having taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including a course she created on nature and spirituality, which brought her two areas of expertise together. She has conducted and published the results of her research on wildlife in the tropics, and has been involved in the creation of a number of conservation studies programs. Sylvia’s experience in mentoring students naturally led her to life coaching, in which she became certified through George Mason University in 2014. A lifelong connection with horses has been woven throughout these experiences, from her first pony while a child in Africa, to teaching at riding camp in the U.S., then Claremont Riding Academy in NYC, to the current and ongoing exploration of how yoga can be a tool for better and more connected riding. Sylvia now leads InBodied Living LLC, a wellbeing organization and consultancy, with her partner, James Houston.