Stability and Yoga

 

Often the focus in modern yoga is on flexibility. From my point of view, stability is a more important part of the yoga journey. You can practice in such a way to bring more stability into your life. Let me show you how. 

Physical practice and stability

Let's start with the physical practice. On the mat, you cultivate stability by practicing in a certain way. When you bring awareness to the pelvic region and focus on building stability in this part of the anatomy you are on the right track. When the pelvic region is not stable you may end up hinging from the hips, locking up the knee joints and creating compression in the vertebrae of the lower back. This happens both in forward folds and backbends. Many of us who practice yoga actually have weak lower backs. Stabilizing the pelvis will change that.

How do you stabilize the pelvic region?

Here are the key factors in creating a stable pelvic region:

  1. Begin with stacking the joints of the legs
  2. Engage the legs without locking the knee joints
  3. Create a slight inner rotation of the thighs
  4. Draw the sacrum into the body, only about 1 millimetre will do
  5. Engage the lower abdomen to stabilize the lower back

You will immediately feel stability in the entire pelvic region. Ideally, this is maintained in all your poses. It takes practice and awareness, but it will reap rewards in the long term. 

When the pelvic structure is stable it anchors your life. Many of the issues you face in your daily life are centred in the lower three chakras of the subtle body. Having a stable pelvic region helps you move through these issues from a place of stability over time and with specific practices. 

Practice Parsvottansansa 

Using parsvottansana, known as pyramid pose, in your daily practice will provide greater stability as well. Here are my guidelines for this pose: 

  1. Start with a 3/4  stride
  2. Feet on two separate tracks
  3. The front knee is not locked
  4. Use arm variations
  5. Folding forward to a comfortable position
  6. Keep length and space in the torso 
  7. Move in and out dynamically, then hold
  8. Anchor through the balls of the big toes and inner heels

Practicing parsvottanasansa is super stabilizing. It prepares you for other big poses and balancing poses in particular. It will reveal irregularities in the breath (the breath may struggle); stability in the body (the body may shake) and mind (you may feel frustration). Overall, parsvottanasana is a really good barometer of your stability. But don't be hard on yourself if you aren't super stable on a given day. That is life!

Take pauses

Pausing at certain points in your practice to practice awareness builds stability. Be present. Feel what is going on on the physical, energic and mental levels.  In these pauses don't worry about what pose is coming next or analyzing what you've done so far. Just be. 

Stability in your daily life

Let's examine stability in your daily life. We are living in very unstable times during this pandemic. You don't know what your future will look like from day to day, month to month. This is destabilizing. A structured daily routine will establish stability for physical, mental and spiritual bodies. Consider the following:

  1. Get up at the same time
  2. Go to bed at the same time
  3. Eat meals at the same time 
  4. Connect to circadian rhythms 

When you create a routine it allows the body to respond with great efficiency. When you connect to circadian rhythms things start to stabilize as you connect to the natural flow of nature.

Boundaries

Our lives are complicated. If you create boundaries to protect time for yourself, to look after yourself, this will help with more stability in your life. Having boundaries means being able to say "no" to things, to walk away from things that don't serve you. This is a capacity builder that will help you feel better - and more stable - in the long run. 

Namaste!

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