Balances are amazing for your health, both physically and mentally and so I’ve been thinking a lot about the answer to this question since someone asked me the other day; What is the best way to get better at balancing?
Obviously the quick answer is practise, practise, practise! However, the longer, and more considered response is that it’s a bit like reorganising and re-training your brain / mind about what it tends to think of as “normal” in an autonomic sense. For this, we not only have to focus, we also have to practise patience.
Do you remember when you were learning to drive and turning around a corner without having to completely slow down or weave around a bit and end up on the wrong side of the road could be a bit of an issue? This, until you gained some control and realised that you needed to not just turn in the direction you were going, but perhaps turn slightly in the opposite direction first? You start to estimate when this needs to happen. Soon, you don’t have to think about it. Have you ever driven a car different to the one you normally drive and realised that you need to reconsider when it’s time to hit the brakes and how much pressure is needed so you stop smoothly? It doesn’t take long before you end up on autopilot again because your autonomic brain responses quickly adapts to that new normal.
Balances are not so different. Unless there is a good reason for it, we don’t usually walk around on one leg, so our brain expects that as the norm! I also think there are hormonal and stress elements to balance (meaning there are good days and not so good days), but as it is one of the first things to “go” as we age (NS communication breaking down), we really must make the effort to keep trying.
The easiest way in the beginning is just to practise shifting your weight from foot to foot. Notice how your muscles – particularly the core muscles – work. Hold on to a wall or a chair. Focus your eyes on one spot.
Any kind of balance where one foot is mostly off the floor, even if the toe tip is gently touching is a lot better than nothing and is well worth the effort – physically and mentally. 🙏❤️🕉