During a recent web browse I found that some people have problems with balance during yoga practices. Sometimes their balance problems can be so severe they find that being a discouraging experience. Some find that their balance problem is preventing them from participating in yoga or at least in some or many of the poses. Obviously everyone has to make such a decision themselves. I would still like to make a general recommendation before people stop engaging in exercises though and encourage them to test and potentially improve their core stability before giving up an activity they enjoy. If you have problems with balance this can be an indication of a weakness in the muscles that support your upright posture.
I’ve had problems with falling during my running. Maybe you think you can’t compare that to yoga. However, if you run you need to have good balance too especially if you run on trails and uneven ground. I never really thought my core muscles had much to do with the three falls on separate occasions last winter. I blamed icy ground, tree roots and all sorts of other things until a friend of mine said she had the same problems and that she’s much better now that she works her core every day.
So, if you have problems with your balance during yoga practices it might at least in part have something to do with weak core muscles too.
Here is a ‘test’ you can try for yourself (you need a partner to help you to do this exercise) that might help you engage the muscles in your core during the yoga poses.
1. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder width apart your arms relaxed left and right of your body.
Your partner gently pushes against your shoulder.
Feel how that affects your sense of balance.
2. Now focus inward for a second. Place your hand on your tummy just below your belly button. Thats where your centre of gravity is.
Keep your focus on that centre and let your partner repeat that gentle push.
Feel how or if your sense of balance is different to the first time.
3. Again, standing up straight with your feet about shoulder width apart, this time clench the cheeks of your bottom together and pull you tummy in. Make sure you keep on breathing. Holding the tension in your muscles let your partner repeat the gentle push.
Feel how or if your sense of balance is different to the previous two tries.
If you noticed a difference in your balance you can use this core tension when engaged in other activities too. You simply pulling your tummy in and clenching the cheeks of your bum together during lets say a yoga pose. As you consciously engage your core you might find it makes a difference to your ability to hold a pose. Obviously this doesn’t just apply to yoga though. Any activity in my case running benefits from a strong core and good balance too. A strong core is also really useful during exercises that require upper body strength.
If you are like most people and have never done anything that would specifically target the musculature in your abdominal region, the muscles around your pelvis and back, some regular core stability exercises might also be a really good thing for you. I’ll be reviewing some new apps that target those kind of activities in the near future, stay tuned.
All the best