Exercises- Balancing Focus

This exercise can be done next to a chair or wall for additional support.  Each of the balancing positions we will cover can be done on its own or together, in sequence.  

 

Let’s start with the first one. 

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width distance apart.  Lift the top of your head up towards the ceiling and slightly tighten your abdominal muscles to lengthen and support your spine.
  2. Place your hands on your hips and shift your weight onto your left foot.  Find a steady point that is not moving in front of you to gaze at; this can help when balancing.
  3. Lift your right foot, keeping it only 10-15cm off of the ground, straight in front of you. 
  4. Take 5-10 slow breaths here.
  5. Slowly put your foot back on the floor.
  6. Repeat by lifting the left foot.

Simple. Take a moment with your eyes closed or focused on a steady gazing point to notice sensations in the body, while your breath returns to its normal rhythm. 

Let’s try the second one

  1. Stand on both feet, hip-width distance apart
  2. Shift your weight onto your left foot and bend your right knee so your right foot comes up towards the back of your right thigh.
  3. One option is to use your hamstrings to keep your knee bent.  A second option is to hold your right ankle with your right hand while your left hand is on your hip.  If this is uncomfortable on your right knee, stand next to a chair and place your right shin on the seat of the chair. 
  4. In each option, try to keep your right knee pointing down towards the floor rather than pointing to the right side. 
  5. You might notice that you are creasing at your hips or your right shoulder is being pulled down and to the right.  Try to lengthen your spine and engage your abdominal muscles to create a long line from your right knee to right shoulder.
  6. Observe any physical sensations in this balancing pose.  For instance, you may notice a stretch at the front of your right thigh or an engagement of your hamstring muscles.
  7. Take 5-10 slow breaths here. 
  8. Slowly put your right foot on the floor.
  9. Repeat by lifting the left foot.

Do not forget to breathe.

When finished, take a moment with your eyes closed or focused on a steady gazing point to notice sensations in the body, while your breath returns to its normal rhythm. 

Okay, on to the third pose. 

  1. Again, stand on both feet, hip-width distance apart.
  2. Place your palms together in front of your heart and bend your knees so your hips reach down and back.  Your weight should be on the back of your feet by your heels to prevent your knees from bending past your toes; you should still be able to wiggle your toes here.
  3. Shift your weight onto your left foot and lift your right foot off of the ground with your right knee bending in towards your stomach.
  4. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh so your right knee moves out to the side.
  5. Take 4-8 long breaths here.
  6. This is a challenging balance, so you may notice that you are holding your breath or tensing the muscles of your face and neck.  Encourage the muscles around your jaw and neck to relax as you take deeper breaths.
  7. Observe any sensations in your right leg.  For instance, you may notice a stretch sensation on the outside of your right hip.  Notice any sensations on your left leg and any other feelings in your body. 
  8. Slowly come out of the shape and return to standing on both feet. Don’t forget to breathe.
  9. Repeat by lifting the left leg. 

When finished, take a moment with your eyes closed or focused on a steady gazing point to notice sensations in the body, while your breath returns to its normal rhythm. 

 

Conclusion:  

 

And we’re done. This one might have been a challenge. It likely made you feel both energized and relaxed. Take the time, as you cool down, to notice any sensations or changes that you may feel in your body after these poses. You can use this exercise at any time, when you or your group feel scattered or disconnected, perhaps due to stress, boredom, or anxiety.