Yoga with Melissa 362 Yoga for Balance 3 Techniques to Balance in Eagle Pose

by Melissa West on December 16, 2016

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Yoga Balance


If you want to have great balance you need to focus on your proprioception, your vestibular system and your visual system.

Somebody who has excellent balance has a high degree of proprioceptive awareness, a highly attuned vestibular system and visual system. However, somebody who feels that their balance is off or experiences a lack of stability or even trips and falls often could have problems with their proprioceptive, vestibular and visual systems.

Yoga is an excellent movement practice to train your proprioceptive system. When you take off your socks and shoes and placing your bare feet on the ground, you are accessing nerve signals through your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Your proprioceptive experience allows you to feel where your body is in space. Normally a lot of this information is cut off through the shoes we wear. So practicing yoga heightens your proprioceptive system and improves your balance.

Secondly, your vestibular system provides sensory information about motion, equilibrium and spatial orientation. Each ear has a utricle, saccule and three semicircular canals. Your vertical and linear movement is detected by the utricle and saccule when move head up and down. This often happens in movements like cat/cow. When you rotate your head side to side the semicircular canals detect rotational movements. This could happen in a pose like a twist or half moon balancing pose.

In our culture we move our head very little. Because of screen time, our head is often locked in place for hours on end. In addition to that, cameras in automobiles mean that we have few reasons to move our heads to look around. When we were children our vestibular systems were engaged all the time as we did somersaults, cartwheels and swung on swings. As adults it is important that we engage this underused system again, otherwise our balance system suffers.

Finally our visual system contributes to our overall balance. This is the ability of your eyes to figure out where your head and body are in space and also your spatial location relative to other objects. In yoga we often train with our eyes closed, therefore improving our proprioceptive system (our sense of self in space). And we can also spend some time improving and training our balance by playing with our visual system, opening and closing our eyes.

Yoga Postures/Asanas: Guided Relaxation in Legs Up The Wall or Viparita Karini , Figure Four or Keyhole Stretch, Cat Pose or Marjaryasana, Half Cow’s Face Pose or Ardha Gomukhasana, Cow’s Face or Gomukhasana, Mountain Pose or Tadasana, Standing Twist, Chair pose or Utkatasana, Eagle Pose or Garudasana, Sphinx Pose or Salamba Bhujangasana, Front Lying Twist, Child’s Pose or Balasana

Props: blocks, yoga strap

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Weekly Yoga with Melissa #362 Photos of Yoga Poses

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