Balasana is a posture in Yoga with many benefits. The most profound benefit of the posture is the physiological calming down of the central nervous system. This is beneficial for calming down, refocusing, and relaxing. Anatomically, this asana gently and passively stretches the back of the body, thighs, and hips while it softens the front body. Physiologically, it also aids in digestion while deep breathing is maintained in the posture or asana.
To perform Balasana simply come to all fours with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Next, engage your big toes together setting yourself up to sit back into your heels with your ankles and knees aligned safely. With your toes touching gently sit back into your heels while softening the arms and outstretching them in front of you. Keeping the toes together provides safety for the knee and ankle joints. As long as the toes are touching you can widen your knees as much as you would like although, it is beneficial to keep part or your rib cage resting on your inner legs as this provides maximum stability. Gently rest the center of your forehead into the earth. If the center of your forehead does not naturally meet the earth then simply make a bridge for your head with your hands and rest your head in your hands. You can make fists and stack them one on top of the other to create a taller bridge if you need.
While you are released in the asana begin to breath deeply into your nose focusing the breath all the way down into your lower abdomen on the inhale and fully out on the exhale either through the nose or mouth. Deep breathing will maximize the physiological benefits of the asana. Breath in… breathe out… inhale…exhale.
This is a very busy time of year for most people. As you find yourself bouncing from place to place, event to event, party to party, work, and travel make sure you take some time to bring it back to the center. Meditation is a fabulous way to do this. Some people become overwhelmed when they think about Meditating. Typically, the first response is ‘I don’t have enough time’. The beauty about Mediation is that you really only need 5-10 minutes and even if you only have 2 minutes to spare, you will still help yourself. The longer the practice the more profound the practice becomes but any little bit helps. I find that Meditating in the morning is the best time for me. This is the time before I get involved in my day and it sets my day up nicely. I am able to think more clearly and deliberately when I Meditate in the morning.
Simple Meditation Techniques
Meditation does not have to be highly involved. You can simply take a few moments, sit comfortably, and focus on your breathing. A typical Mediation stance is one that allows the spine to be erect without leaning against something. You can sit on a blanket or a towel and ensure that the sitting bones are rooting down firmly and evenly. Next, you extend from the crown of the head and try to create space between the vertebrae. I visualize my vertebrae as a strand of pearls, one pearl extended gently above the other, or one vertebra extended gently above the next. You then either close your eyes fully or gently release your gaze toward the ground or a flickering candle. If you are in a loud environment I recommend closing your eyes and visualizing your happy place. For me this is under water. With your sitting bones grounding, your spine elongating, the heart and head lifting, and your gaze set or eyes closed, you then simply breath. Focus on the breath. Take an inhale for three counts, a gentle pause, and an exhale for four counts. Making your exhales slightly longer than your inhales will allow the residual oxygen to be pushed from your lungs. Do this for as long as you have and enjoy the calm, clear effects of Meditation.