4 Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Balance
Yoga is a great way to create balance in many different areas of your life. Learn how yoga can help you find balance both on and off the mat while also building strength and improving focus, in this expert article by Aurelie Studholme, a professional Yoga Teacher on Bidvine.
4 Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Balance
Balancing poses require strength, focus, determination and calm, qualities you can acquire through yoga and transfer to your everyday life. You may also deal with a fear of falling, especially if you’re going upside down like in a headstand. Whatever the challenge, exploring your boundaries and stepping out of your comfort zone will help you to grow.
Here are 4 of the main ways that yoga can help you find balance!
1. Achieve Physical Control in a Pose
Balancing is a full-body experience. You distribute your bodyweight and feel yourself in space, enhancing your proprioception (the awareness of yourself of your surroundings).
Ever felt clumsy? Yoga can help with that. When you’re balancing in an awkward shape you can sense the muscles engage, the lines of energy activate, and the heart pumps to keep you steady. Everything works together - muscles and connective tissues, bones, blood and nerves, gaze and breath, and your brain piloting it all. It's an attempt to control yourself inside out.
Sometime you might fall which can be a humbling experience in the precarious nature of it all. When you’re physically trying to sustain your balance, there is this equilibrium between movement and stillness. Balance comes from movement but it settles itself in the stillness of the body, the mind, and the gaze.
It's a constant effort against gravity. You have to create the right alignment to put your body into a shape and then suspend it. It’s like a pause in time and space. A beautiful moment of grace you can make happen.
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2. Improve Focus and Still The Mind
There will be days when your mind is busy, and your balance will be completely off. The good news is, you can train that too. Maintaining a balancing pose helps you strengthen the mind by keeping it steady and focused on what you’re trying to achieve. It can help you to let go of your thoughts and this, in turn, will help you stay focused and alert in tricky situations.
You become calm. Zen. The mind clears up and you’re less worried about insignificant matters. Balancing poses confront you with challenging and somehow stressful situations. Simultaneously, they empower you to overcome them. By doing so you'll get greater control of your stress response, preventing it from escalating.
Another great thing is that succeeding to maintain a challenging pose will boost your confidence and flood your brain with happy hormones. Everything becomes possible and, one step at the time, you are more resilient, self-reliant, and positive about yourself and the situations you’re in.
3. Build Strength
To achieve stability, you will need to build strength around your centre of gravity, the core. Muscles of your lower abdomen, lower back, pelvis and buttocks will be major players there.
A lot of us need more core strength and stability. Balancing poses are such a great way to build that. You’re not just isolating glamorous muscles that will help you get in shape but you're also engaging the whole area. Say hello to a healthier spine and a better posture when you’re standing or sitting. One of my clients was even told she looked taller after a few months of regular practice!
If you’re suffering from back pain or if you’re back to exercise after having a baby, yoga and balancing poses will bring stunning results. Yoga's balancing poses also work really well with elderly people who are trying to maintain muscle mass and stability in order to prevent falls and fractures.
Whatever your current level of fitness is, there’s an option for everyone! Think chair yoga, yoga by a wall, and helpful props like yoga blocks or straps.
4. Balance Beyond The Yoga Mat
What can you keep with you after you roll up your mat and go back to your everyday life? A sense of stability, control, clarity of mind, and even happiness.
Yoga has been scientifically proven to rewire the brain, to help fight stress and deal with difficult situations in a more relaxed yet more efficient way. Did you know that acquiring new motor skills induces a structural change in white matter in your brain? Some of that stuff is actually created in your brain when your body experiences new types of movement.
Sustaining a calm breath during the effort also tones your vagal nerves, which helps with getting a better night's sleep, improves digestion, and also re-energises you.
Last but not least, the practice of yoga and self-care will teach you to let go. Let go of your responsibilities, your worries, your toxic thoughts. By allowing yourself to re-centre, you create space and spaciousness for what really matters. You start feeling happier and healthier and as a result, more inclined to look after others. Yoga, after all, is a perfect example of some well-deserved 'me time', especially amidst the chaos we all experience nowadays.
Some poses to get you started on your balancing journey
- Level 1: Tree, Side plank
- Level 2: Warrior 3, Dancer’s pose
- Level 3: Crow, Headstand
Aurelie Studholme is a yoga teacher and a mum of three in South London.
She was working as a journalist in Paris when she turned to yoga as a last resort, suffering from excruciating back pain and sciatica. She was sceptical at first! But yoga fixed her back and she became so hooked she ended up planning everything around the classes until she started with yoga teacher training!
She then started to follow a holistic approach to life and completed more than 500 hours of training as well as studying meditation and plant-based nutrition.
Aurelie teaches online or in person, private or group classes in English or in French. She offers a variety of styles to suit all preferences and needs: Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Bikram, Yin and Yoga Nidra and trained in Postnatal Yoga and Yoga for Pelvic Health after experiencing post-natal issues herself.
Since Yoga helped her heal and find herself, she wants to pass on this wonderful gift to as many as possible.
Interested in booking yoga lessons with Aurelie? Click here to visit Aurelie's Bidvine Profile.
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