By Rebecca Stiles, Contributing blogger
Springtime means new growth, warm sunshine, and the feeling of fresh possibilities. For many of us, it’s a time when we refocus and look to improve the balance in our lives.
Yoga is the perfect practice to balance our mind, body, and spirit. When we physically balance on the mat, we build not only our strength and stability but also our inner perseverance and courage.
Use this yoga sequence to prepare your feet and mind for balance. Hold each pose for 3-5 smooth, steady breaths, and place your awareness in your feet to increase your sense of groundedness.
- Begin with your eyes closed and your spine tall.
- Notice your breath and observe if your inhale or exhale is longer.
- Move your attention to your feet and feel your connection with the floor.
- With eyes open, shift weight to your left leg and bring the right knee up.
- Gently hold the right knee with the right hand.
- Maintain a tall spine as you observe your balance. Notice how much you sway or how your foot and ankle may move. Observe without judgment.
- Repeat on the other side.
- With an inhale, reach your arms overhead, and as you exhale, sit your hips back and down as if you are preparing to sit in a chair behind you.
- Lift all your toes off the ground, spread them wide, and then relax them back onto the floor.
- Feel your weight solidly in your heels.
- Place your hands on the floor and step your feet back into downward dog.
- Bend one knee and then the other, pressing the heel of the straight leg down towards the mat and coming up high on the ball of the opposite foot.
- Peddle back and forth a few times.
Broken toe pose
- With your toes hooked under, sit back on your heels as far as you are able.
- Interlace the fingers and reach the arms overhead, lengthening the spine.
- If this is too intense for your feet, keep your hands on the floor.
Lunge with a heel lift
- Step the right foot forward to a lunge and lower the back knee.
- Lift the right heel, coming on to the ball of the foot.
- If you are steady, slowly reach the arms overhead.
- Pause to connect with your breath.
Chair pose with a heel lift
- With your inhale, reach your arms overhead, and with your exhale, sit the hips back and down, returning to chair pose.
- For a challenge, slowly shift your weight forward to the balls of the feet and lift your heels.
- If lifting both heels is too tricky, you can lift one at a time.
Standing balance- add a twist
- From mountain pose, shift your weight to your right foot and bring your left knee up.
- Hold your left knee gently with your hand.
- Notice how your balance may feel different, and your feet may feel more open and grounded.
- If you are stable, challenge your balance by adding a twist towards your bent knee.
- Close your eyes and observe your breath.
- Notice again if your inhale or exhale is longer or if your breath is balanced.
Feel the solid connection of your feet with the earth.
Bio: Rebecca is a yoga teacher, registered dietitian, and writer. She is passionate about integrative wellness and the intersection of food and movement with the health of the world around us. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys. For more of her work, visit www.rebeccastilesrd.com.