For a lot of people the very idea of yoga conjures up images of people twisted into crazy positions while balancing on their head, and at the very least, the thought of balancing postures terrify most. This isn’t surprising seeing as in this crazy world we live in, we are already trying to balance 24/7. Balance work, life, kids, money and time. It can be precarious and actually leave us quite unbalanced.
In yoga (and in life) there are always two sides. Yin and Yang, Left and Right, Shiva and Shakti. In fact the very word “Hatha” means Ha – Sun, Tha – Moon. It embodies a balance between both and that is the goal of any yoga practice; to balance both the active, fight or flight energy in your body with the restful, calm energy in your body.
When our lives become too chaotic for too long, we get stuck in a fight or flight state and it becomes hard for our central nervous systems to calm down, it also makes it difficult to physically balance, but that’s why they call it “yoga practice” not “yoga perfect”!
By learning to calm your mind and body to remain in a balancing posture, you are actually teaching your body how to balance both energy sides within yourself. A calm mind is a balanced body.
The best thing to do when working on any yoga posture is to breathe deeply, find a point of focus and move slowly with control. If you don’t believe the effect this can have, then try a little experiment. Take a deep inhale, and exhale in short bursts out your nose. Then inhale in short bursts through your mouth, and exhale in short bursts again. Do this a few times, then try to balance on one leg.
When you slow your breath down and remain mindful of your breathing rhythm you are able to act with much greater fluidity in your practice. A quote I once heard for balancing postures is
“Balancing is not about falling, it’s about learning to get back up gracefully”
Some great balancing postures to try are:
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana)
You may find that each of these poses may feel differently from day to day, and in time you’ll be able to directly link it to how you’re feeling. Some days I could hang out in Tree Pose all day long and have even been known to stand in Tree while brushing my teeth and doing my makeup, other days I can only hold it for a few seconds, and other days one side is stronger than the other and I know it has to do with my stress levels, what’s on my mind, how busy I am in my personal life. Regardless of all that however; simply practicing the balancing postures will help deepen the rest of your practice and help you achieve a greater sense of calm and harmony.