Balance is a skill achieved through an organisational process of the brain. We are consciously unaware of the process of balance. Balance is a combination of three sensations:
1. the visual impression which the brain receives through the eyes as we look around,
2.the vestibular sensation which the brain receives through the movement of hair cells present in the inner ear due to gravity and movement of the body and
3.the proprioceptive sensation received through the mechanoreceptors present in the muscle, bones and tissues when we stretch or contract the muscles. To attain balance, proper coordination and functioning of these systems are essential.
A promising way to sharpen the balance skills is by regular practice of Yogasanas (Yogic postures). These postures stimulate the senses and provide a chance to the brain to process the information to hone the balance skills. Studies reveal that numerous factors affect the balance skills in childhood. Along with muscle strength, the aptitude of the movement pattern is utmost essential. The practice of Yogasanas (Yogic postures) nurtures appropriate posture, strengthen muscles and patterns of movement fostering the balance skill.
Vrukshasana (the tree pose) and Tadasana (the mountain pose) encourage balance as the body makes efforts to stand in an erect posture and also increases body awareness. Besides, it improves concentration and calms the body. Virabhadrasana (the warriors pose) is another active posture to strengthen the body and maintain balance.
Adhomukhashvan asana (downward dog pose) provides proprioceptive input due to the pressure exerted by the arms & legs and vestibular input by the inverted head. It is both a strengthening and stretching exercise for the muscles. Another great pose which provides proprioceptive input and helps build core muscle strength is Utthita Chaturanga Dandasana (the plank pose). As all the muscles of the body are involved, it is an excellent muscle strengthening exercise for the whole body.
Natarajasana (the dancer’s pose) makes the body work to maintain an erect posture while extending the arm and leg simultaneously. This pose produces a stretch in the muscles of the thighs, groin abdomen and strengthens the leg muscles, thereby improving core strength and balance.
Regular practice of these yogic postures helps to foster mature balance skills, improves the precision of the sensations involved in balance along with enhanced concentration and erect posture.