Friday, March 25, 2011

Balance In Motion

In my yoga classes this week, I have carried a running theme throughout each one: Balance. I’d like to offer a home yoga practice that continues to carry that theme, so you can experience Balance in your day.

Take a moment to set your intention. Contemplate your last week or month and pinpoint any thoughts, feelings, are life experiences that have left you feeling imbalanced. Perhaps you feel overworked without much rest and relaxation. Maybe you’ve been wanting to pursue an idea, but haven’t had the motivation to start. Or you’ve been having difficulty concentrating; your mind chatter seems to be louder than usual.

If you have experienced any (or all) of these, set your intention to bring Balance back into your life. Start today to quiet the mind chatter so you can concentrate, relax, and move forward.

To begin your practice, sit in a comfortable seated posture on your yoga mat. Close your eyes and take notice of your breath. Breathe so that you can feel your breath and hear your breath. Once you are aware of your breath, notice the pace of your breath; take notice of the pace of the exhale and the pace of the inhale. Slowly count to yourself as you draw in breath (1, 2, 3, ….) and release the breath (1, 2, 3, ….) If the two halves of the breath do not match, manipulate your breath so that the pace of your exhale matches the pace of your inhale. Once you have established Balanced Breath, take a few more breaths to create Balance within your body and mind.

For your yoga practice, you will begin with standing in Mountain Pose. Reconnect to your Balanced Breath then move into the next pose: Tree Pose. While standing on one foot, place the opposite foot against your inner standing leg. Your arms are extending overhead. Spend up to 10 breaths on each foot. Maintain the balance of the pose as well as the Balanced Breath.

Next, move into a Crescent Lunge. One leg is in front of the other in a lunge. Your front leg is bent about 90 degrees. Your back leg is extended behind you. Your heel is lifted off the floor. You arms are extended toward the ceiling. Your entire body is facing forward. Be aware of the balance in this lunging posture. Spend at least 10 breaths on each side.

Your next pose is Warrior III. While standing on one leg, the opposite leg is extending out behind you, parallel to the floor, and both arms are extending forward, also parallel to the floor. (If you need to have your hands on a wall in front of you, that is fine.) Hold the pose on each leg for 5 breaths.

Holding these poses establishes a deeper connection to physical and mental balance. Sometimes, however, we are unable to find a significant amount of time to sit or stand still to experience this re-integration of balance. We are more often on the run taking care of our life duties. Try this next sequence as a way to put balance into motion.

Return to the Crescent Lunge with your right foot forward. On an exhale and using a slight push from the rear foot, launch yourself into Warrior III. Inhale to extend your body longer in this pose. On the next exhale, move into a Tree Pose. Lift your upper body so you’re facing forward while bringing your left foot to your inner standing leg. Hold this pose for 10 breaths. Finish this sequence by bringing your foot to the floor and your hands to your heart. Hold here for an additional 5 Balanced Breaths. Proceed with the other side. Try practicing this entire sequence 2-3 times.

Don’t worry if you stumble or fall. This is a part of practicing balance in our lives: sometimes we fall. Keep practicing so that you can achieve balance more often in your daily living.


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