Everyone needs a bit of time to focus everyday whether it be in your yoga practice, meditation, yoga nidra or simply lighting a candle it helps to bring us back to centre. In particular, in Yoga this is what balancing does for us, I love this story about the late BKS Iyengar:
Iyengar visited the San Diego Zoo in 1990, he was struck by the effortless aplomb of the flamingos. He pointed to a gaudy pink bird as it balanced on one foot, steady as a boulder. Oblivious to its squawking neighbors, beak tucked under its feathers, the flamingo was fast asleep. Surveying the group of yoga teachers accompanying him, Iyengar playfully challenged them: “Can you relax like that?”
I would be impressed if we could but as humans the answer to that one is no! To balance we need to focus entirely, focus our gaze on one unmoving point, focus our mind and control our breath 5 breaths on each leg.
I’m going to use the example of Tree pose I think it a massively underrated pose with many variations and is a preparation to a fab forward fold pose. People breeze past tree pose in class and pay it little amount of attention unless you really have trouble with balancing then it is your nemesis, I teach it in power yoga but I also teach it pregnancy yoga what better to teach a woman ready to labour the skill of focus and breath work? Tree becomes the most challenging in postnatal yoga, your child isn’t bothered with what you’re doing until you start balancing then you become the most interesting climbing post ever – that definitely tests you.
So, How to? Root a foot down to the ground what this means is press each toe into the ground, the pads of the feet, the whole heel and the edges of the foot, now imagine there are roots growing from your foot anchoring you into the ground, voila its impossible to fall!
Find a focus point for your gaze, about eye level a few metres in front of you only look a that point
Breath! when people really concentrate on balancing they tend to hold their breath try to focus that concentration ON your breath instead
Then if you can handle all that try to crack a smile 🙂
Even if you have no time for a yoga practice try a tree pose everyday 5 breaths on each leg to calm and centre yourself, once you’ve cracked standard tree that try these variations:
- Palms together above the head then open to shoulder width, then shoulder height and back to prayer position at your chest.
- Hippy Tree – arms shoulder height then twist upper body to one side then the next.
- Tree at night – Close your eyes! Totally stole this one from Waybaloo (thankyou cbeebies)