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Balance And Bathe In Equanimity

Lesson Plan Duration:

30

Time Image Pose Description
yoga pose Shoulder BridgeLie on back with knees bent. Feet hip distance apart. Peel tailbone and spine off the mat. Extend right leg to ceiling with foot pointed. Lower right leg towards the ground, flex foot and bring leg back to the ceiling. Repeat. Place right foot down onto mat. Repeat with left leg. To finish, roll spine and tailbone down to the mat.
Benefits: Strengthen hamstrings and glutes.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/QFv_Fex3Mko
yoga pose BicycleLie on back. Arms at side. Straighten legs to ceiling. Peel spine off floor one vertebrae at a time. Hands at top of pelvis (fingers point towards knees). Split legs with knees straight and toes pointed (legs like scissors). Bend front knee towards face. Exhale, pedal front foot away from face, straighten knee as you bring back leg towards face. Switch directions. To release: both legs together, roll to start position.
Benefits: Increases spine mobility. Core control.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/snkWegOrsI8
Modifications: Use foam roller to prop pelvis off ground.
Precautions : Osteoporosis. Glaucoma. Neck or shoulder injuries.
yoga pose BoomerangSit tall. Extend legs. Right ankle crossed over left. Palms by hips. Lift both legs. Roll over to 90 degree angle. Open and close legs, switching cross of ankles. Backs of arms press into mat for stability. Roll down through spine without dropping legs to balance in Teaser with arms parallel to legs. Clasp hands behind tailbone and, while abs drawn in and close to thighs, maintain Teaser position as you lower legs to mat. Circle arms overhead. Bring hands to ankles. Roll to sitting position.
Alternatives: Teaser. Roll Over.
Benefits: Strengthen abs. Stabilise hips. Massage spine.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/SRonJI25raE
Precautions : Neck and spine injuries.
yoga pose Control BalanceLay on back with arms by side. Extend both legs to ceiling. Roll over and place balls of feet into mat. Circle arms around and place both hands on right foot. Extend left leg up. Without changing position of hips or torso, place ball of left foot onto mat and extend right leg to ceiling.
Alternatives: Teaser. Roll Over.
Benefits: Strengthens hip extensors, core. Improves hip flexibility.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/0O_Tay-g3NY
Modifications: Omit scissoring.
Precautions : Neck and spine injuries.
yoga pose ScissorsLie on back. Bend both knees in, and roll through spine, reaching both legs straight and parallel to the floor, and bend knees towards chest. Place hands high on back. Reach both legs to ceiling. Lower one straight leg to mat as you draw opposite straight leg towards your chest. Pulse the top leg towards you two times. Switch legs.
Benefits: Ab, shoulder, hip flexibility.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/CO9_19vfCf4
yoga pose Leg PullSit with legs crossed. Bring hands behind back. Fingers point towards buttocks. Extend legs long and lift hips. All weight is supported by wrists. Lift right leg up and down. Lift left leg up and down. When lifting legs, engage inner thighs and lower abs.
Benefits: Core strength builder.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/BTvniic_B9M
Precautions : Neck and shoulder injury.
yoga pose Jack KnifeLie on back. Arms by sides. Palms down. Press backs of arms into mat. Legs together. Extend both legs to ceiling. Draw abs in. Roll over through spine to take both legs almost parallel to floor. While maintaining lift of pelvis and tailbone to ceiling, reach both legs straight to ceiling. Keeping feet over hips, articulate through spine to roll down to the mat, returning legs to start position. Repeat.
Benefits: Strengthens abs, back, arms, legs, shoulders.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/vWK2oJI90VA
Precautions : Neck and shoulder injury.
0:10 yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose RockingLay on stomach. Arms by side. Head to one side. Bend knees. Hold onto both ankles. Press ankles into hands. Lift chest and knees away from mat by engaging backs of legs and back extensors. Maintain shape as you rock forward and back.
Benefits: Strengthen back extensors, glutes, hams. Increase spinal mobility.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/KQWHWl7yV9g
Precautions : Shoulder, back or neck injury.
yoga pose Leg Pull FrontStart on knees. Place hands on floor in front of you. Keep arms straight and elbows unlocked. Engage abs. Lean forward to put weight on hands. Shoulders over wrists. Keep a lot of space between shoulders and ears. With abs lifted, extend legs back so that they are straight and together. Toes curled under. Ears, shoulders, hips and heels in one long line. Extend one leg up as far as you can without rotating hips. Return foot to mat and extend other leg.
Benefits: Core strength builder.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/fLYsUbi_f-A
Precautions : Neck and shoulder injury.
yoga pose Swan DiveLie on stomach with legs together. Hands by head. Lift abs away from floor while sending tailbone to the floor. Press through hands into Swan, maintaining a long spine and lengthened neck. Release arms to side as body rocks forward. Maintaining the arc position of the body, the legs will lift up. Rock back onto thighs, lifting chest, and maintaining extension and arc position of body. Repeat.
Benefits: Strengthen back and hip extensors.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/mjZZ22GLcDc
Modifications: Swan Dive For Prenatal: If you’re expecting, practice a modified Swan Dive. Begin on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Raise one arm and opposite leg to shoulder height. Hold briefly. Come back to starting position. Alternate and repeat.
yoga pose Supine SwimmingLie flat on belly with arms stretched out in front. Legs outstretched behind. Squeeze inner thighs and heels together. Pull navel up off mat. Raise upper back and head off mat slightly and simultaneously lift right arm and left leg off the mat. Squeeze buttocks and press pubic bone down into the mat. Switch arms and legs and begin swimming, alternating arms and legs. Extend body as much as possible.
Benefits: Strengthens muscles on back of body: buttocks, thighs, back.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/bY6ZyiO_7ek
yoga pose Side BendSit sideways with legs bent to one side. Top foot in front of bottom foot (or stacked one on other). Place supporting hand in line with seated hip a few inches in front of shoulder. Press into supporting hand, straighten legs to lift pelvis away from mat, making rainbow shape with body.
Benefits: Abdominal strength. Shoulder stabilisation.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/zprsJDjeONM
yoga pose TeaserLie on back. Elevate legs so thighs are perpendicular with body and knees are bent and parallel with body. Extend arms behind you. Inhale, lift arms towards legs, while lifting head for max reach; at same time, straighten legs in the air. Exhale, make body a V shape. Inhale, return to start by rolling body back.
Benefits: Abdominal, back extensor strength. Trunk stabilisation.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/UJ5gZQSqlXo
0:10 yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Side Plank On KneesLie on right side. Prop yourself up on right forearm. Bend knees so calves are at a right angle. Right elbow under shoulder and in alignment with hips. Rest left arm along side of body. Engage core. Push down on right elbow to raise hips up. Hold. Switch sides.
Benefits: Core strengthener.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/pVZ2WibQsvg
Modifications: Extend arm overhead.
yoga pose Side PlankStart in Plank (top of a push-up). Extend body. Step feet together. Press weight down through right hand and forearm. Roll body to right, balancing on outer edge of right foot. Stack left foot on top of right foot. Keep legs straight. Press through heels into floor. Bring body into one straight line. Gaze at top thumb. Press down through your bottom index finger. Hold. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Core strengthener.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/vzGZbJq5gg0
Modifications: Extend arm overhead.
yoga pose Lunge TwistStand in a lunge with left leg in front and right knee raised off the floor. Gently twist to left side. Keep right elbow on left thigh. Place hands in prayer. Root back foot into the ground. Gaze up. Hold. Repeat on other side.
Alternatives: Don't look up.
Benefits: Uses all muscles.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ebFCyRw9Qq8
Precautions : Headache. High or low blood pressure.
0:10 yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Single Leg StandGaze at a spot on wall in front of you. Stand on one leg while tightening buttocks and thighs.
Benefits: Balance. Strengthens buttocks. Pelvic stability.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/TKVhKVdrrAo
Modifications: Balance on wobble board.
yoga pose Quad StretchStand tall. Bend left leg and grab left foot with left hand. Rotate pelvis under. Knee points to floor. Both knees are glued together. Chest open. Feel stretch in front of thigh. Hold. Repeat with right leg.
Benefits: Stretches quads. Helps with posture and balance.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/CZBKSOtyssM
yoga pose Hamstring StretchStand tall. Bend left leg and grab left foot with left hand. Rotate pelvis under. Knee points to floor. Both knees are glued together. Chest open. Feel stretch in front of thigh. Hold. Repeat with right leg.
Benefits: Stretches quads and hamstrings. Helps balance.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/CZBKSOtyssM
yoga pose Standing SupermanStand tall. Take a big step forward with right foot. Shift weight onto right leg. Raise arms overhead. Interlace fingers. Lift left leg. Gaze at a point on floor. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Strengthens legs, shoulders, back. Tones abs. Balance.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/4PjcQJjOvBc?rel=0
Modifications: Arms out to sides. Arms back.
Precautions : High blood pressure.
yoga pose Lunge TwistStand in a lunge with left leg in front and right knee raised off the floor. Gently twist to left side. Keep right elbow on left thigh. Place hands in prayer. Root back foot into the ground. Gaze up. Hold. Repeat on other side.
Alternatives: Don't look up.
Benefits: Uses all muscles.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ebFCyRw9Qq8
Precautions : Headache. High or low blood pressure.
yoga pose LungeStand tall. Bend right knee. Step back onto ball of foot. Go as far as you are comfortable. Don't let right knee bend past toes. Keep hips even. Think of hip bones as headlights that have to point forward. Chest open. Gaze straight ahead. Rest hands above right knee for stability. Straighten back leg. Don't lock knee. Let lift come from hamstring (back of leg). Hold. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Stretches legs, groin, hip flexors. Strengthens thighs, buttocks.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/OrC0gFdw9r8
Modifications: Move between bent and straight leg.
Precautions : Knee injury.
yoga pose Lunge High TwistStand in a lunge with left leg in front and right knee raised off the floor. Twist upper body to left side over front bent knee. Return to start. Twist upper body to right side over front bent knee.
Benefits: Stretches hip flexors. Engages core.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/8AT_0RRv3wM
yoga pose Single Leg StandGaze at a spot on wall in front of you. Stand on one leg while tightening buttocks and thighs.
Benefits: Balance. Strengthens buttocks. Pelvic stability.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/TKVhKVdrrAo
Modifications: Balance on wobble board.
0:10 yoga pose End Of Sequence
yoga pose Arm Float One InchLie on back. Knees up. Raise arms an inch off mat (palms facing down). Chin slightly nodded. Hold. Release.
Benefits: Correct alignment of the head and neck. Arm strengthener.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/eeYZGa1n0gk
yoga pose Supine Spine TwistLie supine, band under ribs, arms in a t shape to side. Legs in TT, take both legs to the right and punch the left hand to the side for opposition. Repeat taking legs to the left, punching out the hand to the right side for opposition.
Benefits: Strengthens core. Improves flexibility in spine.
Resources:

In this session you'll have fun with balancing exercises, and also give your body and mind an amazing workout. Each balance exercise can be used to build strength in different body parts, muscles and joints.

Benefits Of Balance

The main benefit of practicing balance exercises is finding balance in body and mind.

When we balance, we align our body's centre of gravity with the earth's gravitational field. We place ourselves in physical equilibrium with a fundamental force of nature. But we can't achieve this harmony by remaining absolutely still. We need to refresh our balance from moment to moment. The sustained effort to centre and recenter brings the entire body (nerve impulses, thoughts, emotions, and consciousness) into a calm balance.

Balance brings equanimity. With each moment that you struggle in a balance exercise you are training yourself to remain calm in chaos.

Physics Of Balance

The three essential elements of balance are alignment, strength, and attention. Alignment of the body with gravity is crucial; it makes balance physically possible. Strength gives us the power to create, hold, and adjust alignment. And attention continually monitors alignment so we know how to correct it from one moment to the next.

Tightrope Walker

Every time you use your arms to balance by holding them out to the sides like a tightrope walker, you're intuitively taking advantage of the fact that as weight moves away from your centre of gravity, it has a greater effect on your equilibrium. If you have difficulty in any balance exercises (especially one-legged balances), use your arms to help stabilise yourself.

Spread Your Toes

You can enhance your equilibrium in standing balance poses by spreading your toes. The broader your base, the more stable you are, and even the slightest widening of the sole of the foot is  helpful. 

Brain Verses Brawn

The better you get at balances, the less muscular effort you need to maintain them. This is because you become more skilled at using your bone structure to support your weight, rather than wasting muscle energy to do so. You also waver less, so you need to make fewer and smaller muscular corrections. It is important not to try to muscle your way through balancing poses. Don't replace good alignment with brute force. If you find yourself clenching the floor with your toes, white-knuckled, there's a good chance you are using too much brawn and not enough brain.

Plumb Line

Since the brain compares your actual position with an image of where you want to be, it helps to have a pretty precise internal image. One very useful image is to imagine a plumb line running down the point of balance. If you can develop a strong internal sense of this line, it will help your nervous system calibrate movements that maintain equilibrium along the line.

Humour - Patience - Curiosity

At a higher level of the nervous system, your attitude toward practicing balancing poses has a huge effect on your success. Approach them seriously and with determination, but also with good humour, patience, and curiosity. Be like a child learning to stand. If you can laugh when you wobble, or fall yet be ready to try the exercise again, you have found true balance in your practice.