Today I nearly fell on some black ice in the grocery store parking lot. A bystander watched in amazement as I managed to avoid falling going this way and that before I came to stop, still upright. She exclaimed about my balance as if it was a miracle, and congratulated me for it. I felt pretty proud that my body reacted as it did to keep me from going down when I started to go sideways.
This is just one example of why I practice yoga regularly. The variety of balancing, strengthening and body awareness helps me function better in day-to-day life, and prevent injuries that can turn into bigger problems as I age.
Today’s icecapade got me thinking; if I could only choose one, what pose would I recommend to help increase standing balance?
Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III Pose)
Balancing on one leg
Hands at heart centre (or on support if needed)
Hinge forward at the hips keeping the spine and lifted leg in straight alignment, until parallel with the floor
Extend arms in front and activate all of the muscles through the back, paying special attention to keeping your glutes actively supporting that lifted leg
Extend through the lifted heel
Try to keep hips level (don’t let the extended leg open to the ceiling)
Breathe in and out 3 times or more
Inhale and straighten the standing leg
Exhale and come back up to standing keeping the straight line of spine and leg
Repeat on the opposite side
*You may wish to bend the standing knee slightly to increase muscle activation, or as I prefer; keep the standing leg straight with the heel perfectly stacked under the knee and hip, this increases the load on the bones, and so is also helpful for bone density.
If you’d like to improve your balance, move better in daily life, or prevent injuries yoga could be just the thing for you! Join me every Saturday morning at 9:00 am for Bull Yoga; new members get their first-class FREE.