Yoga is a practise used widely for its relaxation and health benefits. It focuses on breathing, strength and flexibility and there are a whole host of advantages people claim to have achieved through the practise.
Some of the positions you hold during yoga require a little (or a lot) of balance, so this improved over time and practise. As any skater would know, balance is very important (but also improves the more you practise skating). I used to take yoga classes twice a week at university with my friend (whenever I could), and have recently started doing daily yoga. So this post is dedicated to yoga: the videos I use for solo yoga, as well as suggestions for poses that improve balance!
Whilst at university, it was easy to do yoga – just turn up to the class, pay the £2 and have a nice hour of stretching/mild workout/ relaxation. However, since I’ve graduated its even easier- with the many many YouTube videos available, made by kind instructors! My favourite YouTube channel to use is Yoga With Adriene as she has a whole range of videos for beginners, to more advanced stuff. The series I’m following on her channel at the moment is 30 Days of Yoga. So far it seems to be slowly building up in difficulty, but of course there are variations on all positions for all skill levels. Adriene’s voice is calming, yet encouraging, and she offers small tips throughout her videos (and there is a general air of fun vibes around her videos).
So now for the positions! I like to hold these for as long as possible during the practises and concentrate on keeping movements to a minimum (though a bit of wobble is ok). On all positions, a simple challenge is to close your eyes. You’ll be surprised how much this affects your balance!
Place your hands together over your head, and balance on your one leg, with the other foot resting on the side of your shin or thigh. (Previous instructors have said to not rest the foot on the knee as it strains the joint). A general rule for most poses are to keep the shoulders relaxed, elongate the neck and try to keep your hips/ shoulders/ crown of head aligned.
Start with the Runners Lunge (start from a plank, and step your one foot up to under your chest, have hands either side of your foot. Have a soft bend in the extended leg.) From here, lift your torso and push crown of head upwards to elongate the neck, keeping the bend in the extended leg soft. Raise your arms above your head with palms facing inwards.
Stand with feet together (or wider apart for a better support), bend your knees and lift your arms above your head, palms facing inwards. Bend as low as you can as if about to sit down on a chair, trying to keep your back fairly straight and hold this position. Have relaxed shoulders to elongate your neck.
I’m sure if you look around the internet there are other poses you can do to improve balance, but for a beginner these are my favourite! I think they have helped my balance a lot! Yoga also improves flexibility, which I think has improved my slalom ability – and I generally leave a session feeling refreshed and clear minded. Why not give it a go?