Many people come to yoga looking for better balance. As we age, it becomes even more imperative we stay on our feet. Here are seven simple strategies to help building better balance.
1- Practice a little bit each day. If you tie your balance practice to something you do already every day, it will be easier to get in some practice. I suggest balancing on one foot while you brush your teeth. That’s an automatic two minutes of balance practice two or three times a day, if you have a timed electric toothbrush, at least. If not, set a timer.
2- Strengthen your core. A lot of balance comes from the core, but you don’t need six-pack abs to be better at balancing. Practice a minute of plank, do a few sit ups, or even low boat pose. Mix it up, and gain benefits.
3- Find your center and lift up. After you’re more familiar with firming into core, you’ll start to feel a lift up from center. This center can be from the core to the top of the head, or a lift in the heart that draws the shoulders back, or both. But you must build awareness or what it takes to lift up. Take yoga if you’re not sure of this one. We’re all about the lift from center.
4- Move and massage your feet. Yep, you have to have a good connection down in order to stay lifting up, the laws of nature say so. To have a better connection with your feet, wiggle your toes, circle your ankles, and do a little self-massage either with your hands or rolling the feet with a tennis ball. *Bonus, your feet will love you for it.
5- Use a prop to practice. It is a rare individual indeed who can go from lack of balance to balancing in the center of the room. Using the wall or a piece of furniture is not cheating, it’s smart. Hold on to something, practice putting more weight in one foot and use the prop less over time, not right away.
6- Try to balance first thing in the morning. For some reason, most of us seem to be more successful at balancing as soon as we get out of bed in the morning. Let the early-morning success give you motivation to keep up with your balancing practice.
7- Commit to a weekly yoga class. If you dislike balancing work enough, you will avoid it. So sign up and participate in a class. I’ve had more people improve their balance with my classes than I can count. Come join us. It works.
I hope you will try some or all of these strategies. Don’t wait for a fall to wake up to balance practice. If you know anyone who needs help with balance, please forward this to them. Thank you!