There are many yoga poses that help improve balance and mental focus. When doing balance poses, we get to know our center of gravity and how to align the body. Balance improves mental focus and alignment of the body to improve equilibrium in everyday activity.
Lack of stable balance is often reflected in a hunched back. When the back is lengthened and straightened, equilibrium is restored. Standing straight requires contracting the abdominal muscles and firmly holding the legs in a straight line with the hips and arms lengthened by the sides.
The yoga pose in the picture is an extension of elongating the body from a straight standing posture into a modified twist of the core. This pose requires mental focus and is often a movement in everyday tasks. To stabilize the body, the core muscles in the body need to tightly contract, holding them and aligning the spine.
Another pose that challenges balance is Tree Pose. This pose requires standing balanced on one leg while bending the knee and resting the foot on the inside thigh of the other leg, lifting both arms overhead in a “V,” and holding the pose. It takes a lot of concentration and visualization of Tree Pose to stabilize the body, maintain balance, hold the pose, and deeply breath as you lengthen the body.
Yoga poses, challenge muscles especially in the core and lumbar spine --the center of gravity in the body, located in the lower back that begins below the last thoracic vertebra (T12) and ends at the top of the sacral spine, or sacrum (S1). Most people have 5 lumbar levels. Each lumbar spinal level is numbered from top to bottom — L1 through L5, or some people have 6, or L-6.
To begin today’s yoga practice, find an outside location which is calming. The pose in the picture is practiced on a bank of the Intercoastal Waterway in Palm Beach, a beautiful place to let go and practice balance. Practice the pose, first, on solid ground until you are secure in balance.
This twisting, standing posture requires the body to slowly turn to the opposite side and spread balance between both legs with a contracted abdomen while extending one leg forward and holding the bent knee with opposite hand. When doing the pose, you gradually widen the legs while turning the head, looking out from under the raised arm. Free the mind and let the body gradually adjust into a fuller side twist. Your center of balance is in the perineum, the region of the lower body between the legs.
In this twisting core pose, muscles of the vertebrae have a greater range of motion and awaken energy. Flexible muscles in the core, free physical limitations in the entire body created by unconsciously holding negative postures. Any habitual stance that locks the pelvis, such as sitting many hours in a chair, can shorten core muscle functionality. This side angle twist in the picture, strengthens the entire/body as it improves balance. Yoga movement in and out of poses, allows the body to decompress and let go of anxiety and/or stress.
Take a little yoga vacation and practice outside while you enjoy nature and fresh air!