Whether you’re on one foot, one hand, or just standing in a Warrior pose, balance is an element that we should all incorporate in our practice.
Below are a few tips for maintaining strength and ease as you balance in your asanas.
1 – Drishti, or in English, the “focused gaze”. We spoke more about this in our past Drishti post which you can see in our blog archives. Put simply, it means focusing your eyes on one point. It’s very easy in a balancing posture to be looking at the wall, the ceiling, the floor, your own leg, or even what the teacher is doing. But it’s nearly impossible to balance when the eyes are flitting about. Eye movement is a sign that the mind is busy. When the eyes focus, the mind can focus. When the mind focuses, the body can focus. Practice looking at just one spot that’s not far away and that’s not moving, and test your balance from there.
2 – Get grounded. Notice which body part is on connected to the earth. It may be your forearm, or your hands, or just one foot. Whatever it is, imagine roots stemming from that place, helping to connect you to the earth. When we work with balance, we can be very much in our minds, trying to figure out how to balance. But the head is far away from the earth (unless you’re working with a headstand). So whatever body part is on the floor, ground into that space.
3 – Lift towards the sky. When we work with balance, we are working with a combination of being grounded, but also being uplifted. After you’ve established your sense of stability, notice where you can grow and reach. It may be your hands reaching up, it may be your feet, it may be the crown of your head, or it may be your heart. Whatever is lifting up, feel the expansion as you stretch and grow freely towards the sky.
4 – Breathe. Always always breathe. This may be the most common word your hear in a class. But it’s the most important. Breathe slow, breathe long, breathe steady. Let your breath communicate with you so that you know when you need to slow down and also when you feel strong. A slow, easy, steady breath is an indication of a slow, easy, steady practice.
5 – Let go. Don’t think too much, just exist in the balance. Enjoy all the sensations of being rooted, being free, and being open. Let your mind drift as your body experiences the benefits of balance.