I’ve been rewarded for working on my balancing poses in the evenings by getting into a pose that has eluded me from the beginning: Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Head-To-Big-Toe Pose). On Wednesday evening at Thrive Yoga, Lisa Johnson led the class into the pose and I set up without giving it a second thought and lifted my left leg into the simplest variation, with the leg extended straight out in front. I was able to repeat the pose standing on my left leg (my less secure side for balancing). Of course, when I started thinking about it too much, I began to wobble.
For the past month, I’ve incorporated at least three balancing poses into my evening routine, holding them for long 20 counts, with repeats if I can fit them in: Vrksasana (Tree Pose), Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Head-To-Big-Toe Pose) in its easiest form, no hold on the toe, and Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III Pose) but moving into the pose repeated so that my muscles get used to the movement in my hips.
Why did I start emphasizing balances? Because I knew it was a part of my practice that is lagging behind the rest and it’s been that way from day one. I’ve also read that developing balance stimulates the cerebellum, a region in the brain that links to cognition, mood, physical sensitivities and coordination. Oh yeah, and balance is one of the faculties that deteriorates in old-age.