Balancing is a complex interaction between the sense of touch (body weight), the workings of the inner ear and our vision. Practicing yoga postures (asanas) can help improve our balance by increasing physical and mental balance; improving strength, improving coordination, increasing flexibility, incre
asing range of motion and strengthening our sense of where our body is in space (proprioception).
When we move our bodies in yoga, we work to build awareness and a sense of where our body is in space which helps us safely maneuver in our environments. We learn to distribute weight equally in our feet, helping increase balance and stability. We even learn to balance while sitting, helping to strengthen our core and back. Moving our bodies will also improve range of motion and coordination, which are all very important for balance.
Another component of balance is your vision or focal point. In yoga, we focus on keeping our eyes still and in one spot (Drishti) which can help your balance.
Even simple postures and moves can improve your balance. We practice simple balancing poses in Gentle Yoga classes using the walls to help support you in the posture. In time, you will build confidence, increase balance, and strengthen muscles in the feet, legs and core. I like to encourage my students to work on their balance even when they are not in the studio. Something as simple as standing on one foot while washing the dishes, for a minute at a time, can help build strength in the feet and legs.
As you practice yoga, you will move beyond the physical practice and turn your focus inward. Learning meditation and mindfulness can also help with balance both physically and mentally. It is important to focus on one task at a time. When walking, focus on that one task, putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t look around, up at the sky or worst of all look at your phone while walking!