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! 🙂
We focused on the core this week, although almost every asana and vinyasa between asanas involves using one’s core. May you move in your core power with a little help from the following practice! 🙂
Bird-dog curl (Tuesday) or Downward facing dog to plank curl (Thursday)
Breathe out with the curl, and move slowly and deliberately. “Cinch” your waist as though tightening a belt around it.
Move into 3-legged plank pose first, then curl knee either to nose, or one or other elbow. Press ground away with hands and arch back during curl. Exhale on the curl.
Vasisthasana | Side plank on elbow (Tuesday) or on hand (Thursday)
Keep body in straight line – hips have a tendency to fall back in this pose. Be sure to keep elbow below shoulder, and press well into edge of forearm. Use lower oblique to lift lower hip and ankle.
This variation is the classic side plank, but only practice it if your wrist is not unhappy here. Holding the toe o the upper leg is a more advanced option. Be sure to not let the hips swing back.
Upward facing tabletop (Tuesday) or Purvottanasana | Upward facing plank (Thursday)
Placing a block between legs helps one avoid over-using glutes. Keeping chin in chest prevents neck issues from being exacerbated.
Keep thighs rolling towards one another, and place soles of feet on floor.
Curl into C-shape, with bellybutton lifting up into spine. If possible, pull feet off floor.
Block under sacrum, extended leg(s): A great counterpose to all the abdominal work is to place the block under the sacrum. Adding the leg lifts shifts the pose into another core working asana.
Raise one leg to hip height, then raise it higher. If you can balance on block without using shoulders, raise one leg and place foot of other leg on thigh, sliding foot down extended leg.