I often ask new students what they want to get out of their yoga classes and have received some interesting (and sometimes surprising) responses. One that I’ve heard several times now is the desire to improve balance. But, what does that even look like?
Developing the strength to give ourselves a stable base from which to expand is one of the great benefits of a regular practice. It enables us to get into all those fun poses and feel like upside down flying pretzels…or at least really solid trees.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) is a perfect example. When I try to enter this pose without first moving through some easier standing poses or without hugging in the muscles of my standing leg before reaching out, I find it really hard to have the same expansiveness and…, well, balance. I also find it easier (less difficult?) as I build more strength in my legs.
But balance can’t be all rigid, tight muscles, right?
Once we have a solid base, expanding outward is the fluid counteraction that makes it possible to find balance. This openness, layered over a strong foundation, also gives us resilience when we start to wobble in a balancing pose. Ahh yoga, there you go again giving us life lessons when we thought we were just sweating.
Photo by Dan Carr Photography