When a new student begins taking class, one of the most common concerns they share is a lack of balance/coordination. Physical instability can stimulate psychological stress, and fear that a student might look or feel awkward in class. Building confidence to allow yourself to "look weird" or fall over in class, doesn't happen overnight. That battle is fought in the mind (and I desperately want everyone to win this fight!) But, there are basic steps you can control in your body to help you build more confidence in balancing and coordination.
Balance and agility go hand-in-hand with Proprioception, or your body's ability to know where a body part is without looking at it. For most students, the primary mover muscles are plenty strong to hold their body. To encourage balance, it's about taking time to stimulate the smaller, stabilizer muscles to provide control. Balance will help improve your stride and endurance when running, and it will also help you prevent injury. So, let's begin!
Start on a flat surface. I prefer bare feet to stimulate your toes ability to grip and guide weight evenly across your feet. For purposes of these exercises, don't lock your knees. Find softness in your joints.
Find a strong stance on both feet, then align your right foot in front of the left - heel-to-toe. Send your arms long to build balance. When you feel strong here take your gaze to the right and twist to the right. Come back to center. Reverse your gaze to the left and twist left. Your arms should remain at shoulder height as you twist - like an helicopter propeller. After you have done 5 twists, reverse out your feet and repeat.
Reverse step/ Reverse lunge
Begin in a strong stance, balance weight into your left foot. Inhale, left your right foot two inches off the ground. Exhale, stimulate your core muscles and step your right foot back into a shallow lunge. Keep your gaze forward as you make this movement. Ensure that your left knee does come forward past your left toes. Once you've found stability in both legs, send weight back into the left foot again and step the right back up to meet the left. Repeat on the other side. Complete a set of 4 on each side. Gradually, you will begin to work into a full reverse lunge.
One-footed Mountain Pose
Begin in a strong stance. Inhale your arms up to Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Pull your low belly in and lift your right knee up to the height of your hip. Find three distinct 90 degree angles - at your hip joint, knee and ankle. Stay here for 5 breaths. For more stability, bring your hands to your hips. Switch out your sides and repeat on the left. Complete a set of 4 on each side.
One-footed Mountain Pose Twist
Come into your one-footed posture once again. This time, like in the original exercise, send your arms out long. Take your gaze to the right and twist. Hold for 5 breaths. Inhale back to center, switch your feet and reverse to the left. Complete static holds on each side. You can increase the challenge by moving 1 breath to 1 movement, 5 times on each side.
Overtime your wobble will disappear. Go on, give it a try!
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