It’s a Balancing Act

Not all of us will be able to maintain this handstand. Some of us struggle to balance on the best of days. We often have lots of things on our minds and lots of things we need to be doing or places we have to be. Sometimes this can get in the way of our exercise routines. You can tell what sort of day you have had in your balances: some days you will be as steady as a rock and others you might be unstable and wobbling.

Here are five tips to help you to balance in a handstand pose:

  • Fix your gaze or drishti – here Shaz is staring between her hands, which really helps your ability to maintain balance.
  • Engage your core muscles, then squeeze your legs together and point your toes.
  • Be grounded by spreading your fingers and using them to make fine adjustments to your balance.
  • Shrug, then fully extend your shoulders.
  • Finally and most importantly, remember to breathe into the pose.

There are some superb progressions that will help you build up to, then finally maintain a handstand. The best way to learn those is to go and visit your local yoga studio and find someone to support you.

If you live near Stoke, we suggest booking one of Shaz’s classes so she can help you enjoy your journey to handstand.

 

Want a Strong Core? Try This!

If you’re dreaming of a six pack for summer or have visible abs as a long term goal, this is the exercise for you. It’s highly versatile, with so many options, so don’t think you need to start off with the pose I’m demonstrating here. But if you’re only going to try one exercise, the plank is definitely the one for you.

For this version, from a normal plank position, let your toes and hands take the weight while the back is held straight and perpendicular to the ground. Use your arms to lower your body close to the ground, keeping your elbows at 90 degrees. With practice you’ll be able to hold this challenging pose for longer, working your arms, legs, back and abs for that rippled effect.

If my version is too advanced, why not build your way up? Opt for straight arms, holding your body up for a count of ten. Try the exercise with your forearms resting on the mat, or start with your knees down. Build up the difficulty level slowly, holding the pose for a couple of seconds each time.

This is one of those mind over matter exercises as much as anything else. Your mind will try to persuade you to stop long before your body will give up on you.

That’s where fellow hot yoga practitioners come in handy. We understand what you’re going through and can offer support and coaching. Each studio is slightly different, but we firmly believe our motivational style is unique to our studio. We’ll have plenty of options to suggest, each tailored to your individual needs. We use music to help engage the mind and keep things moving along. Camaraderie and laughter always helps the session flow – the latter engages the abs for an added bonus!

The Sanskrit name for this pose is Chaturanga Dandasana and it’s unlikely you will hear it called by its English name (Four-Limbed Staff Pose). It’s a strong and powerful posture which will tone your whole body. It requires a great deal of strength to perform it correctly, and that’s where a great teacher is essential to advise and support you. This will help you get the most out of your practise without the risk of injury through poor alignment. This is actually a pose we don’t recommend you try at home on your own!

Our practise comes with a reminder that however much you exercise, unless you get your diet right at least 80% of the time, the benefit of all your hard work is going to be undermined. A holistic lifestyle change will help you eat more healthily, but still enjoy what you eat – we can help you find that balance.

Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as going on a diet or embarking on an exercise programme.