Body Balance – why you need it
There’s a lot to say about having balance in your life, but how often do you hear someone reiterate the importance of having good body balance? We’re talking about being able to stand on one leg – THAT balance. Not often, and yet it’s extremely important.
Benefits of Balance in Kids
As children, balance seems to come easily, but as we get older it goes the way of Barbies and Batman. Only later do you realize how impossible it is to hold your one foot in the air without falling over! It doesn’t seem to be a big deal, except when you fall over in lieu of staying on your feet. Keeping your balance could save you not only from public embarrassment, but also from a fall that breaks your hip.
According to Balanceability.com , increasing their ability to balance is beneficial to children suffering from ADHD, and in fact, having well-developed balance reduces fatigue and increases motor skills. “Fundamental motor skills are the building blocks for engagement in physical activity and aid all aspects of the learning process. If these skills are underdeveloped in childhood, children’s ability to participate in and enjoy physical activity can be greatly diminished.”
Balanced Movements equals Better Body
But it’s not only children that benefit from balance training. Adults too, will benefit from increased balance. As already mentioned, honing in on your balance could reduce serious falls, especially as having a good balance means your brain is adept at spotting terrain changes and adapting your body’s place in space quickly.
According to Liezl Hoving, a Namibian Yoga instructor from the Bodhi Room, an easy way to increase your balance is through the practice of yoga. As she explains: “Yoga uses slow, deep breathing, which allows you to focus on how the body feels and moves. It steadies the mind and enables you to recognize where you need more muscle engagement or relaxation to maintain a pose while protecting your joints and spine in healthy alignment. This applies in particular to our smaller muscles and the deep muscle layer which serves to create stability in the body.”
By regularly engaging in exercises that moves the body in a way different to the usual, balance is challenged and, over time, increased. “Regular practice is the key to improvement, because of neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to create new connections). Over time, the more you practice, the stronger the relationships between your brain and your muscles become. This help to refine your movements without having to think about it, which leads to greater balance and co-ordination.”
Try Tree Pose to help increase your Balance:
Begin standing with your feet slightly apart.
Shift your weight into your right foot, feeling it distributed evenly between the toes and the heel.
Lift the left foot off the floor.
If your hips are tight, just place the left foot against the inside of the calf.
If your hips are more open, bring the foot to the inside of the thigh.
NEVER place the foot against the inside of the knee.
Try to keep your standing leg straight and your hips in the middle (don’t lean sideways into the hip).
Lift through you spine and gently pull in your belly.
Bring your hands together in front of your chest or overhead.
Hold as still as possible while taking 10 deep slow breaths.
Repeat on the other side.
200hr RYT from Yogapoint, India (2010)
Diploma in Yoga Therapy, Yoga point, India (2014)