Yoga Poses Proven to Promote Balance
As we age, the risk of falling grows and grows. Balance training not only prevents the risk of falling; it helps us recover expeditiously after any injury as well as support postural stability after a stroke.
If you are an older adult, balance training is especially important, as balance degrades with age. It’s not just the loss of physical strength and dexterity--it can also be a loss of neural connections from lack of use.
Yoga can be an excellent way for older or balance-impaired individuals to preserve their balance and, in doing so, preserve their future health and safety. Below are a handful of yoga poses and flows that are proven to promote balance.
The tree pose is one of the simplest standing balance poses, often introduces to beginners. It may be simple, but if you’re just beginning to develop your balance, it can be harder than it looks! To perform this pose, start by standing and shifting your weight onto one foot. Aim to distribute your weight evenly over your whole foot. Bend your other knee and bring that foot either the middle of your calf or thigh.
Note: Do not rest it on your knees, as that can be damaging to the knee!
Next, you can bring your hands together at your chest or raise them above your head. Focus your gaze on something that is not moving to help you keep your balance. Finally, lower your foot to the floor and repeat the pose balancing on the opposite leg.
For this pose, separate your feet the length of your shoulders, and squat. Inhale, and sweep one hand upward, twisting your head to look at it and twisting your spine. Exhale, and relax for a few more breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Toe stand poses
There are many variations of the toe stand in yoga, but the most basic involves resting a foot on the opposite thigh and bending into a squat, balancing on one foot. Hold for around a minute, staring at a fixed point ahead of you to maintain balance.