What is Balance
- Ever found it hard find a balance between different aspects of your life?
- Between family and work?
- Family time and your own time?
- Chores and fun?
- Well, you are not alone with this constant search for the perfect equilibrium.
- Good news is that there are ways we can work on our balancing act!
Balanced Body – balanced Mind
Balance is an important aspect of many dimensions of our lives; physically, mentally, hormonally, spiritually and more. Our goal is to achieve and maintain balance through challenges and difficulties in our lives, but also between the smaller ingredients that shape our everyday life. If we can live a balanced way of life, we will be better prepared to deal with challenges once they arise. Practicing physical balance, through for example Pilates and yoga, helps us further balance in all parts of our life.
Moving from a solid foundation… Balance is about focus, attention and opposition.
When physically balancing, we actually narrow the base of support which means the brain has to process more information and therefore works harder. In addition to focus and attention, physical balance also promotes concentration and calm.
Physically, a solid base will help us balance. Strong feet and legs constitute the foundation upon which the rest of poses can be built and developed. -Just like a house needs a solid foundation in order to stand tall and not crumble, so do we.
In a similar fashion, once the fundamental parts in life; family, work, housing, schooling etc are in good place, the rest of life can take sudden, unexpected turns without throwing you too far off balance. Every expat family knows the unbalanced feeling a new place brings, before the above-mentioned corner stones of life are in place. …and strong core (values).
Just like a house is not stable without its load-bearing walls that support the rest of the structure shaped around them, we also need a strong physical core to help us balance. Also, finding balance in real life is much easier if you know your mental core – your core values. They will help you maintain your focus and priorities between things that draw your attention in different directions.
What Do we Need in Order to Achieve Physical Balance?
- Alignment – without correct physical posture, we will never be able to balance correctly
- Strength – the core plays an important roll here. Also, when balancing on one foot, one leg is doing the work of two, this is why strength is important.
- Gluteus muscles – are also very important to support the pelvis in one legged poses.
- Attention – your mind and your nervous system has to stay alert all the time, constantly checking your balance and correcting any misalignment.
- Focus – the visual attention, the focus, plays and important part in your balancing act. – Just try closing your eyes when your eyes are closed!
Tray These simple exercises to check Your Balance
- Always start by standing on both feet, feel your foundation steady and firm.
- Close your eyes and feel both feed on the ground.
- Keeping eyes closed, bring the weight over to the foot that is the starting foundation.
- Then open your eyes and begin.
- If at any time you feel yourself come out of balance, draw your attention back to the base, reminding yourself of how stable you can stand on the broad and strong foundation. -Just like you can find refuge in a stable foundation of your real life when things feel a bit shaky.
- Slowly lift the right foot towards the inner thigh of the left leg.
- Place the foot wherever it feels comfortable.
- Place both hands together in prayer position in front of your heart centre.
- Stay here, hugging the foot to the inner thigh.
- In this tree pose, we are after grounding through the trunk of the tree, the standing leg, the solid base which spreads its roots down towards the centre of the earth. The roots and the trunk creates the base on which the top of the tree can grow on.
- Allow the top of the tree to be erect and proud, with ease sending the branches and fruits up to the nourishing sun.
- Stay on one foot before slowly coming back to starting position and changing to the other side.
- Extend both arms alongside the ears.
- Reach one leg behind you and allow it to lift straight off the floor while the upper body lowers down. We would like to keep a straight line between the heel and the crown of the head.
- Stay for few breaths, thinking of grounding through the standing leg and extending through the back leg and the torso.
- Slowly come back to starting position and move to the other side. (As in the picture)
Standing balance Twist
- Slowly lift the right foot and place it on the left.
- Reach your arms to the sides, palms facing down and arms are shoulders height.
- Inhale and exhale to twist your spine to one direction, maintain stable hips facing forward.
- Inhale to come back, exhale twisting to the other side (one set).
- Complete 3 sets before moving changing feet.
- Be vigilant of what distractions throw you off balance in your everyday life.
- Watch how you react to them.
- See how far they have drawn you off balance.
- Take a moment to check in with your physical foundation.
- Let this awareness of your physical balance bring you back to mental balance.