Stop Beating Yourself Up About Balancing
by Edy Guy
I am a libra. I feel as though this is a necessary disclaimer as I begin a piece on the nearly impossible feat of: balance. Most of my life is comprised of balancing the scales and trying to find the happy center. But libra or not, balance is baffling (why were you so much better at tree pose yesterday?!) and can be frustrating as hell.
I’m here to tell you that balance is not what we’ve all come to think! It’s not a solid, unshakable eagle pose or the feeling of perfect peace that we may assume is a “goal” of yoga. I find in my own practice, more often than not, balance is quite the opposite. Balance is being able to shake and tremble while maintaining a pose.
It’s important to know that we are always moving. Always. There is never a time when your body is absolutely still. Even when you’re meditating, blood is pumping to your heart and there are millions of neurons and systems functioning to keep us alive.
So, once in a balancing posture, first notice the four corners of your feet. This is the root of the posture where you will notice the unavoidable teetering and tottering. By taking note of these sensations you are inherently connecting your body to your mind. You’re saying, “I am always moving yet, I am balanced.” In turn, your ego quiets down and your body performs at a higher frequency.
The thing about balancing is that we can’t force it. You can’t stomp your foot more firmly in the ground in order to keep yourself steady. The more dominating and frustrated we become, the more challenging balance is. There is always a certain level of effort and ease necessary to find the shapes we take.
So, here are a few tricks and postures to try at home.
Steps to Balancing Success
Breathe (ie. Prana): First, foremost, and always breathe. But most importantly, focus on breath in the body as a lubricant. Mend the edges of frustration that arise with balance with your breath.
Steady your gaze (ie. Drishti): By fixing your eyes on one point (near the ground for better balance!) you minimize distractions of the room and in your mind.
Root down: Whether on one foot or two, there are four corners on your feet through which you’re rooting. Press these contact points into the ground and fixate your attention on them!
Create a mantra: I am balanced. I am kind. I am capable. I am grateful. With this type of mindset, you relax your body and are able to sway with the fidgets while staying balanced.
Balancing Postures To Do At Home
Tree pose (vrksasana): From a standing position, seal the sole of your right foot to your inner left thigh.
Eagle Pose (garudasana): From a standing position, bend at your knees. Inhale your right leg up and over your left. Wrap your right arm underneath your left into a single or double wrap bind.
Airplane (dekasana): From a standing positions, extend your right leg straight behind you while hinging at your hips. Sweep your arms alongside your body.
Dancers Pose (dandasana): From a standing position, bend your right knee behind you. Reach back for the big toe side edge of your foot. Extend your left arm up to the ceiling. Inhale lengthen your spine, exhale kick into your hand, hinge from your hips.