Yoga’s balancing act

In basically any yoga class you go to, you can guarantee that your instructor will at some point tell you to concentrate and focus your mind. This is often easier said than done. We constantly have streams of thoughts, whether trivial or serious running through our minds. We’re constantly wondering and thinking What am I going to cook for dinner? How am I going to meet this deadline? What am I going to wear tomorrow?

But how do we help stop the billions of thoughts and quiet the mind? Asanas can work on various levels to cultivates awareness and help prepare the body and mind for meditation. Balancing postures in particular are beneficial for increasing concentration. Unless you want to fall over, balancing positions demand complete concentration and act as a useful tool for training the mind.

So here are some balancing postures to try. Remember in all of these postures, to choose a point of focus on the wall or ground. Focus your concentration here so you can balance and maintain the posture. If you are still a bit unsteady, stay near a wall until you’re ready to balance on your own.

Vrikasana (tree pose)
Begin standing upright in dandasana. Bend the right knee and place the right foot on the inside of the left thigh. The right knee should now be pointing outward. Make sure your balancing foot is rooted firmly on the ground and bring the hands in namaskara, prayer position at the sternum. Once you have your balance, keep the hands in prayer and raise the arms over the head. Imagine you are holding onto a rope and stretch up from the arms. As you stretch upward, you’ll also feel a greater sense of balance.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (standing big toe pose)
Begin in dandasana. Bend and raise the right knee in front of you. Grab hold of the right big toe (you can also hold the whole foot or ankle if it is more comfortable) with the right hand. Ensure your balancing foot is firm on the ground. Straighten out the right leg so it is extended in front of you. Bend the knee and release to come out of the posture.

Natarajasana (Lord of the dance pose)
This has to be one of the most beautiful asanas. Begin in tadasana and step the right leg forward. Slightly bend the right knee and simultaneously lift the left heel off the floor. Push off from the ball of your left foot. Grab hold of the foot with the left hand and extend the right arm so it is parallel to the floor. You can also attempt this posture with your forearm against the wall to open up the hip more.

Veerasana (Warrior three)
The third in the warrior series, this posture is also a good arm extension. To enter the posture in a similar manner to natarajasana. Step the right foot forward and slightly bend the knee. Lift the left heel up and push up from here. The two arms should be extended straight in front of you. The left leg should also be extended behind you. The raised arms and legs should be parallel to the ground. The pose should look like a letter T.

Veronica Joseph

Veronica Joseph

Veronica Joseph is an accredited yoga teacher who loves to share her yogic journey from travels in India, cleansing techniques, her favourite poses and their benefits and tips to remember when practising.

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