Developing a Balanced Body

Tight-rope walker.Yesterday I discovered that my body, quite literally, is off balance.   I always like experimenting with new classes and trends and so I tried a yoga class on the Indo Balance Board.   The Indo Board was developed in part due to the massive response to Yoga on the Stand Up Paddle Boards.  The idea behind this board is to replicate the instability naturally felt on water.

I anticipated falling off the board, wavering and having difficulties.  What I didn’t predict was that it would only be one side?  Yes, for some reason I am able to maintain the board’s balance when my weight is on the right side, but shift my weight to the left and the board becomes wavy.   This was consistent with almost every pose that involved a shift in balance whether it was Tree Pose or Warrior III, I even felt myself falling off the board in some seated twists.

The whole process has really gotten me really thinking about balance and in particular weight distribution.

According to an article in the Art of Living, we can favor our body in a variety of ways whether it’s leaning more forward or backward or shifting our weight to the right or left.  If this imbalance is continued for a period of time, it can impact both the way our blood circulates and our muscles function.  As a direct result, we may experience injury and pain.

Creating An Equal Balance

The asanas are designed to naturally balance our body.   Each forward bend should be paired with the counter pose of a back bend and vice versa.  In addition, when practicing asanas such as twists, Triangle, Warrior poses and even Sun Salutations each pose should be done on both sides for an equal amount of time.

Other Techniques that can Help Restore Balance

  • Paying Attention to How your Body Moves.  Do you put more weight on one side when you walk?  Does your body lean forward or backward?
  • How do you use your body during the day? Do you sit at a desk? Work on your feet?   On your off time try to work in some opposing activities, For example  If you sit and lean forward typing at a computer during the day,  have periods of time where your body is standing and leaning back.
  • When exercising (weight or non weight bearing), use each side equally.  Do the same amount of repetitions for an equal amount of time.
  • When resting, try to sleep in different postures throughout the night or bring in pillows to alleviate the pressure on your body.
  • Practice Balancing poses on both sides

Being able to balance is different than having a balanced body.  Often time in balancing poses, we favor the side that the poses seem to come naturally.  In essence, this can amplify the imbalance in our body.  Paying attention to the amount of time that you are in each pose is critical.  In the beginning, you may want to use either short music clips or other sound cues to help ensure that you are  spending equal amount of time on each side.  Balancing poses are fantastic for building balance, but it so much more than that.     Balance is about your entire routine from how you sleep to how you work.

It is about paying attention to how you use your body from the small things (which arm do you a carry a bag on?) to the larger ones.   Classes such as the Indo Balance Board class are a great tool to reconnect with your body and make you aware to the way your body naturally moves.  However, it can’t be a one time thing.  To create a truly balanced body you must stay connected with the way that you use your body each and every day.   It takes time to create balance and to undo our natural tendencies but it is possible.   Have fun with this process, your body will thank you for it.

 

1 thought on “Developing a Balanced Body”

  1. Other options for studying your own balance:

    Stand in front of a full length mirror. Close your eyes and march in place. Keeping your eyes closed, stop marching. Then open your eyes and look at yourself in the mirror. Look for postural imbalances. Is one shoulder higher than the other? Is your rib cage centered over your hips or is it off to one side? Is your head upright or is it tilted/turned to one side?

    You can also take two bathroom scales, put them next to each other and stand with one foot on each. See if you balance your weight evenly. If not, shift your center of gravity so that the scales are even. Really feel what that feels like. Try to imprint that feeling into your mind as “this is center”.

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