3 Beginner Ground Balance Poses
The dictionary definition of balance is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” Balance is particularly important in an aging population as literature refers to a normal decline in musculature as one gets older. However, as a healthcare professional myself, I would say, like most things in life, when we take preventative measures early on, you may find that you can often be the exception to “the norm.” Balance is one of those things (in my opinion).
That being said, I will say that science provides evidence that a well-rounded exercise regimen including strength training, cardiovascular exercise and flexibility and balance training is the best approach to maintaining your balance over time. However, my hope is that these Beginner Balance Poses will help you test how well your balance is presently and gets you on a path of improving your well-being and overall quality of life.
Downward Dog (upside down “V”)
How to: Begin on your hands and knees. Slowly start to walk your knees behind your hips about 2-5 inches. Tuck your toes under so that the bottoms of your toes are now on the ground and lift your knees off of the ground allowing your hips to lift up toward the sky. Let your head rest with your gaze looking between your legs as you press your chest back toward your thighs. Take some intentional inhales and exhales through this pose. Hold for one minute or as long as you can.
Benefits of this pose
- Releases tension in the spine with a mild inversion
- Strengthens arms, wrists, shoulders, ankles, abs, ankles and so on
- Opens up chest, shoulders and hips
- Lengthens hamstrings and calves
- Relieves back and neck pain
Extended Cat Pose
How to: Begin in your hands and knees position. Gently lift your right hand from off of the ground, shifting the weight of your upper body slightly onto your left side. Extend your right arm straight out in front of you, keeping your arm in line with your shoulder. Now lift your left knee from off of the ground shifting your lower body weight to the right side. As you extend your right leg straight behind you make sure your leg is in line with your hip and keep hips parallel to the floor beneath you. With arm and leg full extended you may feel your body naturally seek equilibrium through your core. Make a few minor adjustments here. Soften the elbow and lengthen through the fingertips with palm facing inward. Flex the foot so that your toes are facing down toward the ground and engage the glute and leg muscles. Hold here for as long as you can or up to 2 minutes and switch sides.
Benefits of this pose:
- Prepares body for more advanced balance poses
- Improves stabilizing muscles needed for good balances
- Tones the core
- Helps lengthen the leg and arms
- Aids in relaxing additional surrounding muscles
How to: Begin lying on your right side with your right leg on the floor and left stacked directly atop. Take a 90 degree bend in your knees and gently place your right palm down on the ground directly beneath your shoulder as your slowly lift your hips off of the ground. Balancing your stacked knees, gently lengthen your top leg to full extension with foot place on the ground. Be sure you focus on keeping your abs engaged and pressing the inside hip away from the ground beneath so to engage the outside of your hip and leg. Your body should form a straight line from foot to head. Hold this position as long as you can or up to two minutes. Switch sides.
Benefits of this pose:
- Strengthens hip extensors required for normal balance
- Strengthens core including obliques
- Aids in shoulder and wrist stabilization
- Improves overall coordination
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey