Why practice balancing poses? Of course balancing can improve your strength and coordination but for me the lessons to take off the mat are most compelling.
Living in harmony is a constant goal. To balance the mind, body and soul is the way to achieve inner peace and harmony. Achieving this balance means you need to address your current state, identify where you want to be and accept the delta. A sense of equilibrium then appears. Only when you equally integrate the movement of the physical body with the intention of the soul and the focus of the mind, can you create a balanced state. That balanced state is the true feeling of grace.
On the mat, much like in life, balance poses cannot be mastered, or even achieved in your desired variation, without this integration.
Consider the saying “only change is constant”. One day we come to the mat and move into a beautiful tree pose with stability, strength and power. The next day, we wobble, strain, and fall. This is the change we address in our everyday lives. We ebb and flow through life facing a different environment with each step. Some days we need more focus on our bodies, other days we need to pay closer attention to our soul’s intention and other times we need to bring our mind more clearly into the present moment.
Consider the following standing balancing poses as your personal training programming for finding a balance in your every day life.
Tree pose or Vriksasana is a common standing pose that epitomizes my point. To receive all the benefits of Tree pose it is essential to stay grounded much like the roots of a glorious redwood. Start by finding your dristi or gaze. Hold the dristi maintaining a relaxed eye. Come into the pose slowly and mindfully starting from the ground and bringing your focus up as you move into the pose. Begin by driving the entire soul of your foot into the mat and complete your pose by extending through the crown of the head, lifting your arms to the sky and a tree grows its branches to the sun.
Eagle pose or Garudasana requires great focus and bring everything to the midline of the body. Like tree pose, we are place our foundation on the single grounded foot. Unlike tree we are interlocking the arms and legs and pulling the body in. Lift the arms to the sky bringing the elbows up as you sink the hips into chair grounding deeper into the mat. You may feel constricted at first but do not resist. Instead hold your focus and you will be granted a spaciousness that encourages unrestricted energy flow.
For an additional challenge or variation in your balance training, work your way to dancer, half moon and crow pose.
Experience the humility and trust that all balance poses provide on the mat and continue to bring your mind, body and soul to that glorious equilibrium in your life off the mat.