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Balance: Tricky In Yoga, as In Life
Many people describe themselves as having poor balance (especially in my classes, which tend to be balance-intensive), but you can train your body to balance better.
On the surface, the Revolved Tree Pose looks like a challenging balance/twist pose; but like most poses in yoga, the trick is to know the approach into the position. Here’s how to train your body to balance better by breaking the pose down into the right approach.
1. Start in a lunge position: right leg forward, right foot flanked on both sides by your hands. If getting the hands well-grounded eludes you, try using a yoga block under each hand. Take three slow breaths here.
2. Shift the weight of your body forward and raise your right leg. Hands should wind up directly beneath the shoulders. Again, if it’s hard to reach your hands to the floor while keeping your standing knee straight, then use blocks beneath the hands. Take two slow breaths in this pose.
3. Now, lift your hands off the floor while raising your upper body and swinging your right leg through. Extend your arms out to the sides to balance easier. Set your gaze on a spot on the floor out in front of you. Take two slow breaths.
4. Cross your right ankle atop your left thigh.
5. Bring your palms together and begin to lean forward and downward.
6. Turn slowly to your left and place your right elbow on the instep of your right foot, as pictured. Keep your left elbow pointed upwards and your palms pressing together. Look at the floor for easier balance, though when you master the balance you can look away from the floor instead. Stay for 6 slow breaths and then repeat the entire sequence, starting from the lunge position, on the other side.
Benefits: Fantastic purveyor of balance and a gateway pose to other balancing or twisting positions. Significantly increases your proprioception (awareness of position of body in space).
Avoid if: Because this position requires a fair amount of balance, if your reflexes aren’t fast enough for you to place your second foot on the floor if you lose your balance, then you might want to skip this in favor of easier balancing poses first… or surround yourself by ten thousand cushions and wear a parachute for good measure.
Final thoughts: Additional benefits not listed above include amusing your coworkers by pretending this is how you check if there’s anything stuck to the bottom of your shoe.