Learning to balance on one foot is incredibly important for climbers. Pistol squats, tree pose variations, half-moon… all these Asanas have something to teach you about moving with control.
So the next time you’re on a slab, balancing on a tiny foothold, you’ll know what muscle groups you need to recruit to move forward.
STEP BY STEP:
- Start in mountain pose (feet together).
- Move your body weight onto one leg.
- Lengthen your tailbone, engage your abdominal muscles & lift the kneecap on the standing leg. It also helps if you fix your gaze on a single point in front of you. Hips are at the same level.
- Lift the other foot up and place it onto your ankle. Does it work? Proceed to next step. Are you wobbly? Stay with this and keep working on it!
- Move your foot higher up onto your calf. Gently press the foot against the calf. Check abs & kneecaps are still engaged and hips didn’t move. Does it work? Proceed to next step. Are you wobbly? Stay with this and keep working on it!
- Move the foot higher up and firmly press it against your thigh. IMPORTANT: do not press your foot against your standing knee! You don’t want to put pressure on your knee, which is one the joints that helps you keep the balance.
- Play around with your hands and arms. If you want to have your hands in prayer, make sure you’re pressing the palms against each other. If you want to lift your arms up in the air like an actual tree, make sure that action doesn’t compromise the stability of the structure (abs are still firm, tailbone is tucked under, shoulders are relaxed).
- Find your balance on your standing leg first – before even thinking about bringing the other leg up!
- Engage your abdominal muscles & lift the kneecap on your standing knee to help you keep the balance.
- Focus your gaze on a still single point in front of you. It could be a rock, a chalk bag, a stain on the carpet – it doesn’t matter. Stare at that object as if it was the love of your life. Or a brownie. And let the world spin around you.
By Alice Gioia