Yoga with Melissa 354 Back to School Yoga: The Three Keys to Balance

by Melissa West on

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yoga for balance

yoga-for-balanceBalance is your ability to maintain your body’s center of mass over its base of support. Put more simply it is your competency to not fall over.

Your ability or inability to balance is the result of three systems:

  1. Your vestibular system
  2. Your proprioceptive system
  3. Your visual system

Your Vestibular System

Your Vestibular System is your inner ear. Your inner ear sense information about motion, equilibrium and spatial orientation. This information is collected in your inner ear by the utricle, saccule and three semicircular canals.

Your utricle and saccule detect gravity, that is information in a linear orientation, as well as linear movement. Your semicircular canals detect rotational movement.

When you look up and down at the ground and the sky and you are stimulating your utricle and saccule to detect gravity, that is information in a linear orientation as well as linear movement. When you turn your head side to side and you are stimulating your semicircular canals, this is allowing your vestibular system to detect rotational movement. These simple movement patterns will stimulate your vestibular system and help to improve your balance.

Your Proprioceptive System

Proprioception is defined as the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. We receive proprioceptive input from our skin, muscles, joints and sensory receptors that are sensitive to movement and pressure in our connective tissue.

Proprioception is sensed by your entire nervous system. Inside each muscle and joint, you have tiny meters called muscle spindles and golgi tendons that are constantly measuring the amount of tension and degree of contraction that are happening. This information travels up your spinal cord through your spinocerebellar tract and makes its way to your cerebellum. Your cerebellum accepts information from your skin, muscles and joints throughout your whole body and calculates where your body should be in space.

We challenge our proprioceptive system all the time as yogis. When we take our socks and shoes off and practice in our bare foot, we experience maximum input through our feet from the ground. As we move around in different yoga postures our nervous system and brain responds to this proprioceptive input from the ground, your joints, muscles and position in space.

Your Visual System

You have sensory receptors in your retina called rods and cones. When light strikes the rods and cones of your retina, the rods and cones send impulses to your brain that provide visual cues that tell your brain how you are oriented relative to the objects around you.

Yoga Postures/Asanas: Head Rolls, Anantasana or Couch Pose, Cat Pose or Marjaryasana, Balancing Table Pose or Dandayamana Bharmanasana, Side Plank or vasisthasana, Lunge pose or Anjaneyasana, Chair Pose or Utkatasana, Tree Pose or Vrksasana, Standing Knee to, Mountain step back to High Lunge or Tadasana to Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana, Mountain to Chair to Tree, Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana, Lunge Pose or Anjaneyasana, Revolved Lunge Pose or Parivrtta Anjaneyasana, Pigeon or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Balancing Bound Angle Pose or Dandayamana Baddha Konasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose, Shunya Mudra

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

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Weekly Yoga with Melissa #354 Photos of Yoga Pose


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