When I first got the Nintendo Wii Fit board, I failed at all the balance activities. The little dot would keep shaking, and I couldn’t control the player on the screen. To be fair, balancing on one leg is really hard! For something that seems so simple that flamingoes can do it on their little stick legs, it is one of the most difficult aspects of yoga.
In ashtanga, we have two standing balances that are part of the opening postures.
1) Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, extended hand to big toe.
and 2) Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, half bound lotus. This is ideally done with a forward fold, but since I can’t grab my toe from behind yet, my version looks like this.
Five years of doing these postures every time I practice ashtanga (even when I shorten my practice to 30 minutes) has helped improve my balance immensely. I found that all this balance training is essential in my new role as a mom.
We are a shoes-free home, which means we remove our footwear upon entering. When the baby won’t let me set him down for even a split second, I’m caught having to remove my shoes while keeping him happily in my arms. And this is how it’s done.
Standing balances, FTW! Just another example of how yoga has practical benefits to other aspects of life.