5 tips for Better Balance on the Mat
Do you feel yourself wobbling in certain Asana (poses)? There is always a way to go deeper into a pose; these five tips will help you find your balance.
If you fall out of a pose, no worries! It happens to everyone — even Yoga teachers.
1: Ground Yourself
Really grounding yourself means starting with your foundation, your feet. Rock forward and back and side to side, until you find the sweet spot where you feel balanced on all four sides of your feet: big toe, pinky toe, inner and outer heel.
This is the foundation of Mountain Pose (Tadasana) — which seems like a very simple pose, but when you think about it, it’s the foundation for many Yoga poses.
2: Use your feet!
Once you’ve really found that sweet spot where you’re balanced on your own two feet, don’t forget about your feet as you move through your practice. Ask yourself:
- Where are my toes pointing? Straight ahead? In or out?
- How far apart are my feet? Do they need to be farther or closer apart?
- Are my toes spread as far apart as they are able to?
When you come up from Table Top position into a low or high lunge, for instance, really press into the heel and big toe of your front foot to help you stay balanced.
3: Build a strong foundation
A strong foundation will feel different to different people. The further apart your feet are, the more stable your foundation and the easier it will be to maintain your balance.
In poses like Chair (Utkatasana) and Mountain (Tadasana), it can help to have your feet slightly apart, even though these poses are traditionally practiced with big toes touching and heels slightly apart.
In poses like Warrior II (Virabradhasana II and Pyramid (Parsvottanasana ), where your hips are pointing straight towards the short end of your mat, you want your legs to be hip width apart, as if you were standing on railroad tracks — not a tightrope!
As you continue to practice, challenge yourself. Do I still need my feet wider apart, or can I bring them in closer together and still stay balanced?
4: Keep your hands on your hips — at first
Anytime you raise your hands over your head, balance will be harder to find. Before you raise your hands, make sure you’ve built that firm foundation and really grounded into your mat. Bring your hands to your hips before raising them over your head.
5: Pull in that core!
A strong core protects us from falls, from injuries, from wobbling in Yoga Poses. If you don’t engage your core, your low back will volunteer to do the work. That can lead to injury.
Stand up. Now put your hand on your belly, inhale, and on the exhale begin to bring your navel back towards your spine.
Do you feel more balanced? What else are you noticing when you really draw your core in? What happens to your low back?
There’s more than meets the eye in Yoga
There is so much to think about in every single Yoga pose. Don’t worry if you can’t remember everything at first. That’s why it’s a practice — eventually you will do these things automatically.
You probably won’t remember every single cue when you come to your mat. If you’re practicing with a teacher, most likely the teacher will give you several cues. If you’re practicing on your own, just pick one or two things to work on at a time.
Done correctly Yoga can definitely give you that muscle shaking feeling!
It’s helpful to always bring a beginner’s mind to your mat.
Are there any particular poses that challenge your balance?
Do you take the time to notice your foundation?
Did any of these tips really help you?
Check out the Better Balance + Strong Core Challenge on YouTube here. I suggest you start with the Week 1 video but it’s up to you! You will find a guide with extra practices and PDFs of each week’s asanas in the Facebook group, which you can join here.