The theme of my blog is where practical meets mystical, and I think that is especially true for this yoga post. I’m going to share all my little secrets, even the crazy ones. These are the five things that I practice to ensure balance before I start a pose or to improve balance if I start to feel a little wobbly in a pose.
1. Push your tongue hard into the roof of your mouth.
When you push your tongue hard into the roof of your mouth, your core automatically engages. Core is key to balance. I find it is easier to push my tongue than to think about which core muscles I need to engage. I recommend this tip to anyone who is trying to learn inversions, especially headstands, it is a game changer.
2. Bring your palms to heart center.
When you bring your palms to heart center, you are pulling your center of gravity in as well. You are giving yourself more stability and less flailing. This can be used in almost any standing pose regardless of if it is supposed to be a balancing pose. We all have off days, and I sometimes use it in the simplest poses to ground myself.
3. Firmly tap the top of your head with your fingers, once may be enough.
I don’t know why this works, but it works. In my mind, I am activating the line of energy that runs through my body top to bottom. I find this technique especially helpful for standing balances with leg extensions (front, side, back) and tree.
4. Imagine that you are part of a tree system with roots and branches.
When I teach balancing poses to a class that isn’t yet entirely comfortable with them, I do this quick visualization with them before we begin. I have them imagine that they are a tree. I have them grow their roots into to earth, and I affirm with them that they are completely supported. I then have them grow branches into the sky, and I affirm with them that they are completely balanced. This simple visualization helps tremendously. I have even tested it numerous times by having the class practice a pose before and after the visualization. They always do noticeable better after.
5. Imagine that there are ropes hanging from the ceiling for support.
I started this so long ago that I don’t remember when, why, or how it all began. When I start to wobble out of a pose, I literally do a hand motion that mimics wrapping a rope around my hand or arm for stability. I imagine that the rope is hanging there from the ceiling and it provides the assist that I need to right myself. Observers may think that I am adding a little flare to my pose by twirling my hard or arm, but it is just me trying to stay in the pose.
One last word about losing your balance or falling out of a pose, if you do not wobble or fall out of a pose in class, perhaps the class isn’t hard enough. I welcome the wobbles, they indicate to me that I am challenging myself and my practice. Stability and comfort do not lead to growth.
Have fun playing with these! Keep practicing!!!