Three great yoga balancing poses

Balancing poses are an important part of a yoga practice and have many benefits. One of the primary benefits of a balancing pose is as its name implies it allows you to work on your ability to balance your body weight by improving your coordination and strength. In my daily yoga practice I perform three asanas that I find helpful in maintaining and improving my balance, and that I just enjoy doing.

Let’s start with King Dancer Pose:

Benefits of King Dancer Pose

  • Stretches the shoulders and chest
  • Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
  • Strengthens the legs and ankles
  • Improves balance and coordination

How to perform King Dancer Pose:

Stand in Mountain Pose. Inhale, shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel toward your left buttock as you bend the knee. Press the head of your right thigh bone back, deep into the hip joint, and pull the knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong. Then repeat but this time, inhale and shift your weight onto your left foot.

King Dancer (beginner)

simple variation jof king dancer pose

King Dancer (intermediate)

king dancer pose common

Another of my favorite balancing poses is Tree Pose. I’m only going to show what would be considered the intermediate version of Tree Pose or what is the most typical at least from my experience.

Benefits of Tree Pose

  • The position helps improve posture and balance
  • It strengthens calves, ankles and thighs
  • Perform this pose regularly to improve balance and overall well being
  • For me it is very calming, especially when you pick a focus point and relax your hip allowing it to open up

How to perform Tree Pose:

Stand in Mountain Pose, draw your right foot up and place the sole against the inner left thigh; if possible, press the right heel into the inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor. I like to put my hands together as depicted below, but you can extend your arms over your head either hands touching or apart. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Step back to Mountain Pose with an exhalation and repeat for the same length of time with the legs reversed.

Tree Pose (intermediate)

Tree Pose Standard

 

The third balancing pose is called Warrior III. This pose is great for building strength and balance. Unlike the first two it gets your back perpedicular to the floor.

Benefits of Warrior III:

  • Strengthens the ankles and legs
  • Strengthens the shoulders and muscles of the back
  • Tones the abdomen

How to perform Warrior III Pose:

With one leg in front of the other bring your weight forward into your front foot and gently kick up your back leg. At the same time, bring the torso forward until it is parallel to the floor. Keep the neck relaxed, as if it’s the natural extension of the spine. You can either bring the arms back along your sides or bring them together in front of you as depicted below.

Warrior III (hands forward)

warrior-III

 

Use these balancing poses to help calm yourself and work on your coordination, balance, and strength. They will help you acquire the strength and balance you need to protect yourself and prevent falls and other mishaps that happen out there in the world. For me they are more calming in nature than most of the other standing poses and provide a nice transition to supine or sitting poses.

Remember the key to maintaining your balance is to pick a focal point in front of you with your eyes and focus on it allowing your body to naturally balance itself.

Namaste

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Are you all in?

I lived a great many years in a dual existence; on one side was the healthy Joe who worked out almost every day, took vitamins and supplements, and tried to eat the right foods, and on the other side was Joe the partier.  Joe the partier seemed to be happiest spending time smoking and drinking.  Both the good and the not so good Joe had firmly entrenched habits, and this continued on for many years. More recently there came a time when I asked myself are you all in? With one foot in the fitness and health world and one foot in bad habit land, a choice had to be made.

We all find ourselves in this situation where our positive actions are in conflict with some negative behaviors that we cling on to. These don’t need to be an addiction to substances, they may be a toxic relationship, a going nowhere job, or some other action that is contrary to the positive path you are on.

Being all in means you are willing to abandon that other side, thus ending the conflict. Every time you say no to the negative behavior you move closer to being all in. For myself I struggle with being mostly committed, and if anything I tend to go too far, but that is my psychological make-up. Some people can live a dual lifestyle, but for me this just led to self loathing and regret for every time that I failed to be all in. In Texas Hold’em going all in can mean winning or being eliminated from the game. In terms of life choices going all in can only mean winning. If you can’t live a life of making great choices 80% time, and going the opposite direction the other 20% of the time then you must make a choice. Am I all in? Am I totally committed?

So are you all in?