While the original purpose of yoga was to discover the true Self and detach from one’s desires and materialistic attachments, people do yoga for various reasons these days. Whether it be to improve their mental health, lose weight, strengthen their joints, and so on.
But, perhaps the most common reason people begin yoga is their interest in improving balance. Having good balance is important for day-to-day tasks, such as walking and climbing the stairs, and helps reduce your risk of falls. Good balance is especially important for older adults, stroke patients, as well as people whose weight is not evenly distributed throughout their bodies. If you play a sport, yoga can enhance your athletic abilities by improving your balance.
Yoga is one of the best balance exercises that you can do. It is also an effective way of improving your strength, flexibility, endurance, and overall fitness. But how exactly does yoga improve balance? Are all yoga poses safe for everyone? And what do you need to do before starting yoga if you don’t have good enough balance for basic poses?
Today, we will answer all of these questions and more. We’re going to teach you everything you need to know about the relationship between yoga and balance. Towards the end of this blog post, we will list all the best yoga balance poses! You’re not going to want to miss this one!
How Does Yoga Improve Balance?
Most yoga poses require a certain level of balance. When doing a yoga pose, you must find the center of your body and hold the position for as long as needed. You need to have enough balance to be able to transition smoothly into the next pose. Here’s how yoga helps improve balance:
Yoga requires your body to be in alignment with gravity to make balance possible. Doing yoga regularly trains your body to find the right alignment before you do a pose.
Shakiness is normal at first. But as you progress, finding your center becomes much easier. You can let your body take over eventually, as it naturally knows where it should align itself relative to the pose. You’ll find that you are eventually able to transition into each pose seamlessly.
We recommend using an alignment yoga mat if you are a beginner. The lines on an alignment yoga mat will help you position your body correctly and. As you gain more experience, finding the right alignment will become second nature.
Another of the many benefits of yoga is increased core strength. Having a strong core will drastically improve your balance – especially in athletic situations. Here’s why yoga helps with balance through increased core muscle strength:
Most yoga poses engage your core muscles in one way or another. For example, the plank pose works the abdominal muscles. As you engage them more frequently, your abdominal muscles will grow and become stronger.
Strength is vital to finding balance. Having enough strength makes it easier to find your alignment and, at the same time, hold poses for as long as possible. If your muscles are strong enough to hold your alignment, the less likely you are to lose your balance during a pose.
For example, the tree pose involves balancing yourself on a single standing leg. If you can find the right alignment, that’s great. But if your leg muscles aren’t strong enough to hold yourself up, you will likely wobble on the pose and maybe even lose your balance.
Focus is extremely important for balance, especially if you are doing advanced yoga poses. Regular yoga practice trains your mind to pay attention to your alignment and adapt as needed. If you are distracted, it will be difficult to find and retain balance while doing a pose. And if you have to modify your alignment, having enough focus will help you do so with minimal shakiness.
How To Start Yoga If You Have Poor Balance
Maybe you want to start yoga, but you aren’t confident in your abilities. After all, most yoga poses require some form of balance. But having poor balance shouldn’t deter you from getting started. Here are some tips to help keep you safe while doing yoga:
Clear the area
If you’re doing yoga at home, make sure that you have enough room to move without bumping into something. This way, there is less risk of hurting yourself if you happen to lose your balance. You won’t have to worry about knocking a lamp over or anything like that.
Also, make sure that your yoga mat is not slippery to reduce the risk of falling. If you tend to sweat a lot, we recommend using a cork yoga mat.
Use a chair, bolster, or block for support while doing yoga balance poses. These will help you maintain the proper alignment if you have poor balance. A cork yoga block, for example, can bring the floor up to you and increase your stability, thereby leading to better balance. You can even use a yoga block for back pain. These do wonders to help relieve stress on your lower back, especially if you have spine problems.
There is no shame in having poor balance, especially if you are a beginner. Start with the easiest poses that you feel most confident in. Once it becomes easier for you to find your center, you can move on to more difficult poses, particularly those that require more strength and balance.
Avoid Certain Yoga Poses If You Have Poor Balance
Some poses, such as the mountain pose and corpse pose, are safe for all kinds of yogis since they don’t require much balance, strength, or flexibility. But other yoga poses should be avoided until you’re more experienced, stronger, and balanced.
The tree pose, for example, is part of many beginner sequences. It involves standing on one leg and placing the hands either in front or above the body. It is fairly easy to do, but without enough balance or strength, there is a chance of falling and hurting yourself.
Certain medical conditions also affect the safety of doing yoga. If you have low blood pressure, you must be more careful when doing balance yoga poses because having blood rushing into one part of the body can lead to dizziness. Losing balance because of dizziness or fatigue is not uncommon for people with low BP.
Best Yoga Poses to Improve Your Balance
All yoga positions have particular goals, be it to improve balance, build strength, increase flexibility, or all of the above. If you want your next yoga session to focus on building balance, here are the best yoga poses that are proven to improve balance:
Also known as the Tasadana, this is the foundation for many other poses. It will help you gain an awareness of where you put your weight when standing. While it looks incredibly simple, there is more to it than meets the eye.
To perform this yoga balance pose, stand with your toes together and feet slightly apart. Engage your core while keeping your shoulders relaxed, arms hanging loosely at your sides. You can also engage your quadriceps by slightly bending your knees.
Start with the mountain pose. Next, bend your knees until they are 90 degrees over your ankles. Engage your core and keep your weight distributed evenly on your feet. Then, reach overhead and hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
From the mountain pose, raise your left foot to your inner right thigh until your left thigh is facing the ground at a 45-degree angle. Once you find your balance, lift your hands into a prayer position or raise your arms to the ceiling. After 5 to 10 breaths, repeat the pose for the other side.
Extended hand-to-big toe pose
Shift your weight into your right leg. Raise your left leg in front of you and grab your big toe with your left hand. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths while keeping the knee of your right leg soft. Repeat the process for the other leg. Then, you can also do the pose with the raised leg facing to one side.
Build Better Balance With The Best-Quality Yoga Products From Pureful Yoga
So, what are you waiting for? Given these yoga balance poses a try today. You’ll start to see improvements in your balance before you know it, and you’ll be glad you started when you did.
Achieving your yoga goals is easier with the right kind of gear at your side. Here at Pureful Yoga, we have everything you need to make each yoga session count. Our cork yoga mats, cork yoga blocks, alignment yoga mats, and cork yoga mat bags are all built for optimum comfort, durability, and functionality. And since they are made from 100% organic material, all of our yoga products are sustainable, recyclable, and environmentally friendly.
Start your yogi journey the right way. Shop from Pureful Yoga today and enjoy awesome discounts on your first-ever cork yoga mat!