Yoga 101: Balance is Key

Hey everyone! Welcome back to my Yoga 101 series! I am very excited to share another post with you all because I have fallen in love with yoga over the past couple years. Today’s Yoga 101 is all about balance, so of course, I will be sharing three different balancing poses with you all. Balancing poses can be quite tricky, but not impossible! As usual, I will be going over how you will get into these poses, as well as how to stay in them. Remember that I am in no way a professional or expert in yoga. Keep in mind that I am still learning myself. Due to my two years of practicing yoga, I do feel confident enough to help others learn and grow as well. Breathe, take your time, and go into this with an optimistic attitude.

Boat pose

Today, we will start with boat pose. When we think of balancing, we often think of being on our feet, however there are many yoga poses that require us to balance. Boat pose is a great example of balance without using our feet. To start, you want to come down to a seated position on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Once here, start by lengthening the spine. Imagine that you are sitting against a wall with the best posture ever. Keep the length in the spine as you slowly tilt backwards as your legs come up and off the ground. Your toes will be pointed and your knees can stay in a right angle. Your arms will reach alongside your legs as your palms face inward. If you are looking to advance your practice, try straightening your legs. If both of these versions are just too challenging for you at this time, you can modify the pose by having your palms or fingertips on the ground beside you.

Tree pose

I remember a very important lesson that I learned in dance class many years ago, and it still helps me in my fitness journey today. When doing any fast paced turns or spins, I was told to stare at one spot in the room and to keep my eye on it. That way, when I would spin, I wouldn’t lose my balance or fall out of it. This advice is what I want to share with you before you even start getting into tree pose. Start by finding an object or spot on the wall in front of you (as long as this object or spot is still). When you’ve found an object/spot, stare at it and stand in mountain pose. Make sure to lengthen your spine, without sticking out your bottom. Stand tall and proud like a mountain. Bring your hands to a prayer position in front of your chest. And keep your feet parallel. Stare at your object and slowly begin to lift one leg. The lifted foot will gently come to the inner thigh of the standing leg. Make sure that your foot is not pushing into the thigh. You want your standing leg to be strong and grounded so the thigh can support the lifted foot. If this is too difficult for you right now, you can lower your lifted foot either to the standing calf or to the standing ankle. Never press your foot against the standing knee; this is bringing lateral pressure to the knee which can cause injury. When you are in this pose, remember to breathe and stare at your object to help you balance. Don’t forget to repeat the process for the other leg as well. This is in no way an easy pose, but it is a powerful one. Do your best, and if you fall out of it, come back and try again.

Eagle pose

This is definitely the most challenging of the three poses I am sharing today. Again, remember that balance is truly key. I understand that just reading about getting into this pose may be confusing for the reader, so please refer back to my Yoga 101 highlight on my Instagram @sacchere14 to better understand this pose. You’ll want to start by standing in mountain pose. Bring your arms straight out to the sides and then bring them back in, wrapping your right arm underneath your left. You will then wrap your wrists as well so that your palms are touching. If wrapping the wrists is too much for you, keep the back of the hands touching instead, or place the opposite hand on the opposite shoulder. Be sure to keep the elbows down and the forearms away from your face. Next you will come down into chair pose (I have written about chair in a blog post linked here). Find an object/spot to stare at and then put all of your weight into your left leg as you come to your tip toes on your right. Squeeze the right knee into your chest and then slowly begin to wrap it around the left leg. If this is already difficult, stay with the legs twisted but keep the tip toes of the right foot on the ground. If you want to advance, try wrapping your right foot around the standing left leg.

To this day, these are still poses that I am trying to perfect. It may be difficult and even a bit frustrating to learn these poses, but trust me, when you get it right and learn to balance, you will feel amazing! Believe in yourself, clear your mind, focus on your breathing, and eventually, balancing will feel like second nature! Thank you so much for reading. I am already looking forward to writing my next Yoga 101. Stay tuned!

Click here to go to my Instagram page. Here you will find my Yoga 101 highlight where I talk you through each pose.

Fitness Update: October 2019

Today I wanted to share a fitness update with you! I plan on sharing these every once in a while just to give you a bit of insight on where I currently am on my fitness journey and to keep myself on track!

I hate to say it, but this year I let myself lose my motivation and I have seriously been struggling to get it back. I won’t blame it all on school and being tired, but those have been a small part of why I haven’t been feeling my best when it comes to fitness and health. In 2018, I was in the gym four times a week, doing new exercises and feeling great about all of it. I worked really hard, but then all of a sudden after months of hard work, I started to crash. It was around September-October last year when I started to fall into a fitness rut. To go from lifting four times a week (and working out for a total of six) to not wanting to do it anymore was devastating and confusing. This has happened to me before as well. After my two year anniversary of weight training I noticed that I was losing my motivation a bit so I changed my workouts and started to eat healthier, leading to amazing progress in 2018.

I thought that I could do what I did in the past and it would work again. If I changed my workouts and focused, I’d get back into it. Well, that didn’t really happen. I think that there have been multiple factors that have led me to this point this year. School and school work have always been one of my top priorities, so this sometimes takes precedence over the gym. During the school year, I do not always get enough sleep (depending on my schedule) so there are days when I just do not feel like I can get through a workout. I also share a car with a couple of my siblings, so a car is not always available for me to take. I won’t make excuses though. I need to make the choice to get my workouts in. I need to change my attitude again. I hate that I let myself fall for so long because it just got easier to make excuses as to why I couldn’t get to the gym. I can’t believe that I’ve been feeling this way for about a year now.

Even though I haven’t been feeling up to it for quite a while now, there were days when I would tell myself “you’re going to kill this workout”, and I would. I had great days. Great weeks even. But none of it seemed to last. I feel like I wasn’t making much progress this past year. I would say that during the school year, I was getting to the gym 2-3 times a week, if that. I would try to workout at home at times but it’s a bit harder to get through it when you’re not at the gym. Eating healthier was also starting to feel more difficult. Although I’ve stuck with it pretty well, I seemed to be more tempted to eat too many sweets and I would let myself eat some things that aren’t too good for me.

I think it is important to be honest and to be real with people because although I love weight training, there are still times when I don’t feel like doing it. There are still times where I make excuses and lose my motivation. After looking back at this past year, I want to do better. I want to be excited to be back in the gym again. My health is important to me, and I am happy to say that I feel like my motivation is coming back. I don’t really know what brought it on, but I have been enjoying my workouts a bit more lately. I am starting to make new goals for myself, and I am going to try to change things up a bit. I am not too sure where to start, but I think that maybe I should start with my attitude. Right now, my goals are to get stronger, eat healthier than I ever have before, and get to the gym whenever I can because there IS always time, even with my schedule. I’ve talked about it in a blog post before, and I will likely say it again and again, but your attitude affects everything. I am always trying to better myself, and I don’t want to get so far off track again. I can’t take it back, so instead of focusing on my failures, I am just going to move forward and do better. I am proud to say that my 4 year anniversary of weight training is coming up in the next few months and I can’t wait! If my 16 year old self could see me today (even with the setbacks), I know she’d be proud. Even though I got a bit off track, it didn’t take away all of the progress that I’ve made for the past 4 years. A couple things that have been helping me get back into it are my dad, because he is the one who got me into this healthy lifestyle, my attitude, making the right choices, making new goals, changing things up, and showing up, even when I don’t want to.

Thank you so much for reading. Sharing personal things like this always makes me a bit anxious, but I know there are people out there who can relate. I want to tell you that no matter what setbacks you go through, know that you can always push past it. You WILL get through it. Living a healthy life is not always easy, and you are going to have difficult moments, just don’t stay stuck. Find new ways to feel excited about working out and eating healthy again. Try something new, and don’t give up. Remember that you started for a reason, and as you continue on your fitness journey, you’re going to look back and be so proud of what you’ve accomplished. I know I am.

(If you want to know more about my fitness journey, check out the “Fitness and Self-Care” section of my website, and read the blog post titled “My Fitness Journey”.)