How to Balance in Dancer Pose: Yoga with Melissa 364

by Melissa West on December 30, 2016

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How to Balance in Dancer Pose


I would recommend that our members do the upper back rehydration sequence before this class.

As we are making the transition from 2016 to 2017, one of the many reasons to sit out or dance could be your balance system. As you know so far from our series, your ability to balance is made up of your somatosensory system of your proprioceptive system, your vestibular system and your visual system. It is your central nervous system that receives feedback about your body’s orientation from your proprioceptive system, your vestibular system and your visual system and generates corrective and stabilizing reactions throughout your body by activating your muscles.

Most people rely on 70% proprioceptive feedback, 20% vestibular feedback and 10% visual feedback for balance when they are on a firm and flat surface. However When you are on an unstable surface (and I encourage you to practice your balance on an unstable surface) this changes to 60% vestibular feedback, 30% vision and 10% proprioceptive feedback. It almost turns upside down! The training we are doing with our vestibular system and visual systems in these yoga classes is so beneficial, because it is unusual that you are going to fall on a flat, smooth, stable surface.

Proprioception means your skin, muscles, and joints all contain sensory receptors (proprioceptors) that are sensitive to stretch or pressure in the surrounding tissues. It helps your brain recognize where your body is in space, even if your vestibular and visual systems are compromised (for example if your eyes are closed or your ears are plugged)

Sensory information about things like motion, equilibrium, and where your body is at in space is provided by something called a vestibular system. Your vestibular system is the part of your ear that includes the utricle, saccule, and three semicircular canals. The utricle and saccule detect gravity and front-to-back or side-to-side movement. In contrast, the semicircular canals detect rotational movement.

With your eyes, your visual system figures out where your head and body are in space and also your spatial location relative to other objects.

All three systems are important to developing balance in yoga poses like dancer pose so that when you have the choice between sitting out and dancing, you can dance.

Yoga Postures/Asanas: Sphinx or Salamba Bhujangasana, Half Bow Pose or Ardha Dhanurasana, Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana or Pigeon Pose, Eka Pada Urdhva Virasana or Lunge Using Wall, Warrior One or Virabhadrasana One, Warrior Two or Virabhadrasana Two, Dancer Pose or Natarajasana, Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold, Reclined Twist or Supta Matsyendrasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose

Props: wall, blanket, bolster, strap

Thank you for your donations: Sonja, Diane, Donna

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What balancing poses do you find the most challenging and why? I am planning on doing a whole series on balance and I will include the yoga balancing poses that you find most challenging in this series if you leave them in the comments 🙂

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Weekly Yoga with Melissa #364 Photos of Yoga Poses
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  • Donna Stone

    Loved this class. I am always surprised by how much the preparatory poses help me balance when in the full pose. I can’t pronounce it, but I choose the second option for the next balance class:)

    • Isn’t it amazing how well it works Donna? I’m always amazed too!
      Hastha Padangusthasana 🙂 Thanks for your vote Donna 🙂 Namaste, Melissa

  • Anja Schwalen

    I love dancer pose! The preparatory poses were very helpful, especially the head movements. For the next class, I would like Hastha Padangusthasana as well since my hamstrings are eternally tight, but any other pose would be great, too :-).
    Namaste, Anja

    • Thanks for your vote for hastha padangustasana! That will be next in the balancing series. Glad you liked the class and found it helpful! 🙂

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