Feeling a bit off center in your lunging poses? Well, you are not alone. Whenever we stand in a wide legged position the chances for steady balance decrease, leaving room for anxiety producing frustration. Isn’t that ANTI-YOGA?
Not necessarily, because as you eventually overcome these angsty feelings you get one step closer to freedom over the power of the “monkey-mind” (you know, the busy brain that keeps us distracted). Balance, in yoga, exists when the body, breath, and mind connect and flow in harmony.
Follow these three tips on finding the balance you seek and invite peace back into your practice.
1. Drishti- Set Your Intention and Find Your Focus
Your eyes, the gateway to the mind, are a dead giveaway to the patterns of your thought processes. Are they flittering about? Or have you achieved clear focus and single minded concentration? Usually, you will experience a combination of both, and yoga is mental and spiritual practice as well as a physical one.
When you struggle with balancing in your lunging pose, or any other for that matter, consider that what is causing the struggle may not only be about physical alignment.
2. Lock Your Bandhas to Rock Your Chakras
Are you engaging your bandhas during your asana practice? The bandhas (mula, uddiyana and jalandhara) help us tune into the Prana or spiritual potential of the chakras, the energy centers that run along the spinal channel.
Your bandha practice teaches you to harness all of this pranic potential and channel it into action (i.e. Asanas).
3. Lose the Spaghetti Arms
The lunge is a TOTAL BODY pose, which means you must invite your whole body into action in order to reap all the benefits. Start from the ground up and make sure you have strong feet, sturdy legs, stable core, elongated spine, active arms, and outstretched fingers.
If parts of the body, especially the counterbalancing extremities get lazy, you will have to bear the burden of carrying dead weight which will surely make balancing a difficult if not impossible task.
Energize the tiny, seemingly insignificant parts of the body to wake up muscles. They are eager to help you succeed in maintaining steadiness and efficiency, not only in your Cresent, as they will keep you from chronically overworking in other areas of your life too.
4. Just Breathe
When in a state of fear, such as a fear of falling from losing balance, the natural intuitive tendency may be to hold the breath to stop all movement. This form of bracing the body restricts flow and creates heavy, stagnant energy.
Flow, that state of harmony, exists only when breath and movement unite. Always keep in mind that balance MOVES it does not mean STUCK, it flows, fluctuates, and dances! Practice observing the calm stillness amidst movement to keep a strong connection to your center and your lunge will be UNSHAKEABLE.
5. Stop Trying to Break Records
Last but not least, if you consistently feel unsuccessful during Alanasana or Crescent Lunge, perhaps you have a goal to hold the pose for too long. Sure, striving for 5-10 breaths is a nice ideal that can certainly be accomplished over time, but do not discount the moments you DO hold the pose.
Some days minutes pass by and you don’t waver, and other days one breath in a pose feels like you are caught in a windy tunnel. Hey, that one breath mattered and you gave it your best. Move on to the next pose, do not let this passing moment bleed into the next. There is always tomorrow!
Keep exploring different variations of this pose as well. You can try taking one knee down or placing your hand(s) on a nearby wall if you desire extra support. Keep striving to do better, but don’t forget to have compassion for yourself however you show up on the mat.
Most importantly, do not let the destination distract you; simply continue to enjoy the journey, imbalances and all.