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How can I improve balance and stability?

How can I improve balance and stability?
Handstand on a Field

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How can I improve balance and stability?

Balance is how well you can work with gravity. If you’re walking around, you’re balancing. Think of an infant learning to walk – it takes them a while to figure out how to balance on two feet. If you can walk around with ease, they think you’ve mastered some great feat.

You have three centers of balance in your body – your head, your chest/rib cage, and your pelvis. They all work together and counterbalance each other and maintain total balance of your body. So walking is just happening because you’ve figured out the right alignment of your head, ribcage, and pelvis to work with gravity in order to stay upright and move and you have a stable enough structure to stand and walk.

The other hand to balance is stability – the structural integrity required to maintain a position. Set a timer for 1 minute and stand on one leg. You might notice your lower leg and foot start to fatigue. So to improve balance in that position, all you need to do is strengthen and improve the integrity of the lower leg. This is as simple as it gets. Sometimes gyms, physical practitioners, and other wellness enthusiasts will claim you need certain tools or gimmicks to improve balance. It simply isn’t true, all you need is your body and the ground.

Another aspect you can work on is proprioception, in other words, your ability to perceive your own body’s orientation in space. Movements like rolling, cartwheels, flipping, or even simple inverting (e.g. going upside down like in a headstand) require more proprioception, because your body goes into unfamiliar orientation.

In reality, your body is constantly moving and finding balance, even if you cannot perceive it. Your organs are not fixed; your cells are not fixed – they are in a constant state of balancing and finding a way to be at ease while working with gravity. So the same goes for your body as a whole. Getting more balanced is more a case of working towards geometric balance. This is the aim of yoga, to perfect your geometric alignment. You figured out how to align your structure to walk around. Now, you just need to figure out how to align your structure to feel a higher level of balance.

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