Before we move to step 2……I must ask how are your feet? Have you been working on that towel scrunch? Remember building balance is much like building a home……you need to have a strong foundation to build upon. As you continue to gain strength, as well as mobility in your feet you’ll find that performing balance will become more accessible with each attempt. Let’s continue with our journey.
The next key to finding and maintaining balance is leg strength. In our modern world of convenience we spend most of our time sitting. Wether it be at home, at work, in the car, or any other mode of transportation….. we sit! There are also escalators, elevators, and moving sidewalks that enable us to move from one space to the next without every taking a step. As we as age, we use our muscles less and less. The muscles begin to decrease in size and weaken. Our lifestyle helps that process begin faster. But once again, with awareness and effort we can take steps to improve our wellness.
To improve your leg strength I will share with you an effective, yet simple exercise. You’ll need a wall, and possibly a yoga block, or a ball. A basketball, or soccer ball will work fine. Let’s get to work!
Leg Exercise: Wall Sit
Before you begin this exercise make sure that you’re wearing clothes that give you comfort and mobility. Come to a place on your wall where there are no obstacles that will hinder your efforts. Begin by standing with your back towards the wall. Allow your back body to make full contact with the wall. Step one leg, and then the other leg a full leg distances from the wall. Feet and toes are facing forward. Your torso is full supported by the wall, while your legs are extended in front of you hips distance a part.
With awareness begin to bend your knees. Your torso will begin to slide down the wall. As you bend the knees ensure they are facing forward…..not rolling in or out. An excellent way to bring awareness to the knees is to line them up with your second toe of each foot. Also stack the knees above the ankles. If there is any strain on the knees sit higher in the pose. With your shoulders, upper and lower back firm against the wall attempt to curl your tailbone forward to lengthen the lower back. Draw the belly to the spine to support the back even more. Bring your hands to heart center with the palms sealed.
Once you have found stability in this pose try to hold it for 1-3 full rounds of breath……slow inhale of 4 counts, pause, slow exhale of 4 counts, pause, repeat. Begin with 3-5 sets of Wall Sit. As your strength improves begin to sit deeper trying to make a 90 degree angle with the legs……ankle and knee align, as well as the knee and hip. Increase your sets, as well as rounds of breathe. Maybe your rounds of breath count increase from 4 to 6. If you want to challenge yourself more place a block, or ball between your thighs and squeeze your inner thighs towards one another while still being mindful of the feet and knees facing forward.
Each time you come to your practice begin to bring awareness more to the breath and less to the energy you may be feeling in your lower body. This is a grand opportunity to find grace in a place of discomfort. If you practice Wall Sit on a consistent basis you will increase you lower body strength, which will move you one step closer to your overall goal of improved balance.
Keep up the good work and check back soon for Part 3!