Guest blogger: Louise Bennett (Chintanshuddhi)
I’m revisiting balancing postures in yoga. To be honest, as a teacher, I usually add a balancing pose into the mix towards the end of a class, mainly because I’m trying to cover every category. Sadly, it often becomes a ‘token’ posture. This is because many students feel intimidated and embarrassed by balancing poses. They hate to appear hopeless in front of the group – they feel that everyone is watching them wobble and tumble!
Why do so many people struggle with balancing? It’s not just the seniors and novices who struggle with balancing poses in yoga – it’s often seasoned practitioners and even teachers. What’s going on?
And outside the yoga classroom, if we examine our daily lives, balance is often the most neglected aspect. Lack of balance is reflected in many ways. Probing deeper, balance is crucial in achieving happiness, prosperity and health. Without it we become lopsided.
Some benefits of balancing poses at a glance:
These rich benefits follow us off the mat and into our lives. A balanced mind and body = a happy, wise person.
The impact of imbalance in life
Without applying the subtle art of balancing, lots of things can go askew. So, it’s time to think about not just improving your balancing poses in yoga, but also balancing a few of the following:
Do a balancing pose when you're off-centre
The balancing act of life isn’t really a cliché. Every day I ask myself: How can I balance my day today so that I can do, be and feel balanced in between. Sure, I fall off the edge now and then, but I’m getting better at re-balancing myself.
If possible, I will do a balancing yoga pose if the day’s gone off kilter, and this really helps me on all levels. You’d be surprised at how a simple balancing pose can affect the mind and emotions.
Try the simple tree pose as follows and see the effect on your mood:
TREE POSE (Vriksasana)
Balancing poses and the elderly
I’ve been so inspired by seniors who are dedicated to yoga, and especially inspired by their ability to perform balancing postures. What an amazing gift they’re giving their bodies and minds as they enter old age. In fact, they don’t look old at all!
One student of mine was 80 and did the most beautiful, graceful yoga postures. She didn’t need a walking stick or a frame and was in great shape, looking 20 years younger than her age! Learning to balance ourselves into old age is so important to avoid injury and loss of independence and confidence.
You can read more about loss of balance as we age here.
Balancing meditation and enlightenment
Balance enters the philosophical and spiritual realms as well. As human beings, living in ‘duality’, we ride a daily roller coaster of likes and dislikes, joys and sorrows, and all the experiences in between. And even in less extreme situations, our pendulum swings 24/7: from passive to aggressive, positive to negative – and never fully resting in the centre.
In spiritual life, we aim to find and sustain the ‘centre’ of our being, because that’s when self-realization can happen. A balanced mind becomes like a clear lake, still and deep. It can reflect pure consciousness.
In some meditation practices, centring can be an important technique to bring about inner balance and illumination. In the book Zen Flesh Zen Bones (by Paul Reps) there’s a whole section devoted to meditative balancing techniques to open the many portals into ‘being’.
To sum up, balancing poses are a great way to improve your balance (and avoid the walking stick when you get old). Even if you struggle with balancing postures, you can gradually improve your ability to perform them, and reap the incredible benefits.
Well, I’m off to do a balancing pose right now!
Please share this blog – it’s a free way to help others
Do share this blog post with others if you feel benefited. Yoga can change the quality of a person’s life in the blink of an eye.
Read more quality information about balancing postures:
Balance Me Beautiful has an excellent article here.
And a Yoga Journal article here.
About the guest author
Louise Bennett (Chintanshuddhi) lived for many years in India, studying and teaching yoga and meditation in a traditional ashram. She now lives in the Blue Mts, near Sydney (Australia) and is a yoga and meditation teacher and freelance copywriter, specialising in the wellness market. Her website: louisebennettcopywriter.com
Disclaimer: The links given in this article are for general information only - they are not affiliate links.