Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Balance

It happens to many people: You go to yoga class and find the balance poses difficult. It might be that at another time the poses felt steadier, or it’s just a new discovery.

The first thing to do when you feel out of balance is to listen to what the wobbliness might be telling you. This observation is a message. Just like a tree waves in the wind, when lives are in times of change we might feel physical ramifications of life events in our bodies. And have compassion for yourself. It can be uncomfortable to look at your life in this way by saying, “what change in my life might this be about?”

It also could be the effect of learning a new skill or relearning after a break from practice. The more you practice the difficult poses, the steadier you will tend to become. Practice tip: Try starting your yoga practice lying flat on your belly, and tune in with the sensations there. Breathe fully. Safety and contentment can be dominant feelings when you are close to the earth. Also try practicing near a wall to steady your self. And use it as much as you need to without judging yourself. It is good to practice yoga in a way that is helpful to you.

During the past few winters, with the exception of this one, I felt jittery. Here are some things that might help if you think your unsteadiness is connected to winter cold and sunlight deprivation.

1. Get enough sleep. There is pressure to do so much. In the winter, try to allow a little more hibernation time.

2. Try light therapy. This year I’ve been using blue-light therapy.

3. Eat root vegetables in a salad or soup. Because these foods grow in the earth they contain the energy of it, and can be helpful for steadiness.

4. Eat enough healthy oils from foods like avocado and flax seeds.

5. Try hot cinnamon or clove tea. They can soothe the winter jitters.

6. Eliminate processed foods. Too many empty calories and processed sugar trigger nervous feelings for me.

7. Wear a long, warm coat. This has been key for me. Just dressing warm enough makes a big difference.

Be well in winter!


Anonymous said...

After years of thinking I was just 'no good' at balance asana, one day in yoga class I had a revelation.

It was an ordinary class, just like the rest. Nothing unusual.

But suddenly it dawned on me - Oh! Its not just 'bits' of my body balancing. Its my whole body. Everything needs to be connected and work together. Doh!!

As a dancer, and a yoga practitioner I as amazed I hadn't put that knowledge together before that time!!

Balance postures are still more challenging for me than others, but I know if I've engaged my body and mind properly I can balance well. Very well.

The rest of your tips are good ideas! :)

Brooks Hall said...

That's a good point, Svasti! I think that's also what accounts for the mind-clearing and calming effects of balance postures. Connecting with the "whole" is balancing.