Unfortunately, on Earth, we are all at the mercy of gravity. It means that every single day, our joint spaces are getting a little bit smaller and (particularly the spinal joints) our bones are moving just a little bit closer together.
This is why we must make sure we maintain some kind of program (I recommend Yoga of course ) to keep our joint spaces expansive and our muscles long as well as strong and supportive. Otherwise, as you may have already discovered, we can end up feeling stiff, sore and sorry and unable to enjoy All Of The Things.
The upside of gravity though, is that we can use it to keep our muscles strong. It’s the concept behind weight-bearing and lifting after all.
Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to use special equipment that will end up in landfill – not when you can use your own body to weight train. (The average body builder could not do a handstand for example).
Take this pose – it’s kind of a version of paddangusthasana (hand to toe pose), except I’m not actually holding on to my toe. Obviously this is a quite advanced variation and it does require a bit more flexibility.
The point is though (and you can try this just lifting your leg of the floor), as soon as I grab my foot or hang on to my leg, loads of my core muscles will switch off. It then ceases to be an “active stretch” or movement and becomes “passive”.
However, let go of the foot and allow the leg to float in space and voila; if you touch your abs, you’ll notice loads of muscles have switched on. This is because you have to resist gravity in order to keep the leg away from the ground.
When we balance, all the structures in the standing leg also have to work super hard because the centre of gravity has shifted. It means that limb is now weight bearing about 5-10 times – maybe more- of our actual body weight.
In the end, one-legged balances don’t have to be too tricky or overly fancy, but they are power packed with amazing physical and mental benefits. Not least because you have to re-centre and focus in order not to fall over – so also a great work “in” for your brain!