7 Yoga Practices To Balance Your Body And Mind
Balancing asanas are an important consideration in any well-structured yoga practice. On a physical level, they help cultivate balance, strength, stability and coordination, while also improving posture. They also have the mental benefits of helping reduce stress and tension, as well as enhancing focus, memory and concentration. This is why balancing asanas are so beneficial to incorporate into your regular yoga practice.
Here are 6 yoga practices that will not only help you cultivate more balance in your physical body, they will also promote the stability of your mind.
Tadasana - Mountain Pose
- Stand with your feet together, your big toes just touching and your heel slightly separated. Lifting the balls of your feet and spreading your toes before replacing them down.
- Imagine a string being pulled up from the top of your head, lifting your torso upwards. Allow your pubis to tilt forwards, as you engage through your upper thighs. Keep your belly soft.
- Draw your shoulder blades back so that your chest is open, yet your shoulders are relaxed down and your arms are alongside your body, palms facing forwards.
- Soften the expression on your face and imagine a line from your pelvis to the crown of your head. Breathing into this position
- Try this pose on an Ajnamat for added benefits!
- Encourages balance and focus in both body and mind
- Reduces stress
- Relieves sciatica
- Strengthens thighs, knees and ankles
Vrikshasana - Tree Pose
- Begin in Tadasana, then shift your weight over to your left leg, bending your right knee and reaching down to grasp it in your hands.
- Place the sole of your right foot on the inner thigh of your left, bringing the heel as close up towards your groin as is comfortable.
- When you feel balanced here bring your palms together at your chest, in prayer position. If you are comfortable, you can raise your arms above your head.
- Keep your shoulders back, opening up your chest, and find an unmoving point to gaze at to help maintain your balance.
- Hold this position for a chosen number of breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
- Improves balance and stability
- Focuses the mind
- Strengthens the muscles of the spine, thighs, chest and shoulders
- Relieves sciatica
Utkatasana - Chair Pose
- Begin in Tadasana, inhale as you raise your arms perpendicular to the floor, bringing the palms facing each other, or touching.
- Bend your knees, keeping your thighs parallel to each other. Allow your torso to tilt forward slightly, preventing your knees from extending over your toes, as you lower down to get your thighs as parallel with the floor as you can.
- Make sure your tailbone is tucked in towards your pelvis, your shoulder blades tucked back, and your torso is as straight as is comfortable.
- Hold this position for at least 20-60 seconds (you will start to feel it!), then inhaling as you straighten your legs and stand upright.
- Exhale as you lower your arms back down into the starting position (tadasana).
- Helps focus and balance the mind
- Strengthens the ankles, calves, core, shoulders and arms
Stimulates the cardiovascular and digestive system
Natarajasana - Dancer Pose
- Begin in Tadasana, shifting your weight into your right foot. Bend your left knee, bringing the heel up towards your buttocks, and grasping the instep of the foot with your left hand.
- Raise your right arm towards the ceiling as you tilt forwards, pulling your left leg and arm backwards, as you raise the leg so that the thigh becomes parallel to the ground (or as close as comfortable).
- Kick your left foot out behind your, pulling your arm and tilting forwards, to create balance.
- Gaze at a fixed place, to help maintain balance. Hold for several breaths, before practising on the opposite side.
- Improves balance in both body and mind
- Strengthens the legs and ankles
Stretches the chest, shoulders, abdomen and groin
Ashwa Sanchalanasana - Equestrian Pose
- Begin in a tabletop position, with your hands aligned with your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips, step your right foot forward, placing it between your hands, creating a 90-degree angle between your calf and thigh.
- Keeping your hands on either side of your right foot, push up through your arms while stretching backwards slightly and lifting your chin to look upwards.
- Gently push down through your hips, extending the stretch, without straining. Hold this pose for several breaths, before reversing back into the starting position and practising on the opposite side.
- Balances the nervous system and focuses the mind
- Improves flexibility of the legs and groin
- Tones the abdominal organs
Virabhadrasana III - Warrior 3 Pose
- Begin in Tadasana, then step forwards slightly, with your right foot, and balance your weight onto this leg.
- Raise your arms above your head, interlocking your fingers and pointing upwards with your index fingers.
- Lifting your left foot off the ground and extend it out straight behind you as you tilt forward with your torso and arms. Make sure you keep your head in between your upper arms and aim to make a straight line from your hands to your heel. Try to balance your body so that your arms, torso and legs are parallel with the ground.
- Gaze at an unmoving point, to help maintain balance, and hold for several breaths before inhaling back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Improves physical balance
- Stimulates cognitive functions such as memory and focus
- Strengthens and tones your whole body
* Please note that if you have any health concerns, it is advisable to check with your health care professional first.
About the Author:
Hannah is an Australian born writer who specializes in Fitness, Nutrition, & Spirituality. She holds a degree in social science, a diploma in Health Science and a diploma in Yogic Studies and Teaching. Hannah is certified yoga instructor and personal trainer with over 10 years experience .